07:31 GMT17 February 2020
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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance's plan to establish a training center in Tbilisi both for NATO and Georgian troops.

    BRUSSELS, (Sputnik) – NATO will set up a joint training center in Tbilisi, Georgia to train the country’s troops as well as NATO troops, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

    “We are setting up a joint training center in Tbilisi,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference following a NATO-Georgian Commission meeting.

    Head of the Georgian Defense Ministry, Mindia Janelidze, said he expected the location of the training center to be determined by the end of February, following the NATO evaluation team's assessments.

    In an interview with radio Svoboda earlier in the day, NATO Secretary General Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, made assurances that the training center is of "symbolic importance" and is not aimed against Russia.

    Earlier on Thursday, Stoltenberg announced a doubling of the military bloc's Response Force, up to 30,000, in response to Russia's alleged actions, as well as establishing six new command and control posts in NATO eastern member states.

    NATO's growing presence in Eastern Europe has been the subject of geopolitical tension, with accusations aimed at Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. In turn, the buildup of NATO troops along Russia's western border has raised concern in Moscow.


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    NATO, training base, Jens Stoltenberg, Tbilisi, Georgia
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