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    GEORGIAN PRESIDENT ELECT CONFIRMS HIS NATO AMBITIONS

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    TBILISI, January 25 (RIA Novosti corr. Marina Kvaratskhelia) - Tbilisi's policy towards integration in the North Atlantic Alliance remains unchanged, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told a meeting with public held together with US State Secretary Colin Powell.

    "We closely cooperate with NATO in the framework of the Partnership for Peace program and do not change our purposes in regard to entering this organization," Saakashvili said. In his words, in July, at a NATO summit in Istanbul, criteria necessary for Georgia to further integrate into NATO will be determined. Besides, he said, the post of the civil minister of defense will be introduced in Georgia soon, for the country to be able to enter NATO.

    "We need stable guarantees of security, and NATO is the only guarantor," Saakashvili said.

    In his turn, the US state secretary, speaking on the terms of Georgia joining NATO, said: "NATO doors are open, but Georgia has to observe certain standards to enter NATO." "It's necessary to develop the process of Georgia's cooperation with NATO and it can't be done at once," Powell said.

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