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    USS Mason may call at Georgian port - Russian source

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    The USS Mason, an Evarts-class destroyer escort that is part of the U.S. missile-defense system, could dock in Georgia in the next few days, a Russian intelligence source said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - The USS Mason, an Evarts-class destroyer escort that is part of the U.S. missile-defense system, could dock in Georgia in the next few days, a Russian intelligence source said on Friday.

    He said the USS Mason is currently in the eastern part of the Black Sea.

    "It is not being ruled out that the USS Mason may call at one of Georgia's ports," he said, adding that it entered the Black Sea in mid-September.

    He said that the U.S. combatant vessel is equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system and that the purpose of its presence in the Black Sea is unknown.

    After the five-day war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia, the U.S. sent a total of four vessels to the Black Sea in August-September.

    On August 20, the Turkish government gave permission for three U.S. warships to enter the Black Sea as part of relief efforts in Georgia. They stayed in the region for 21 days, in line with the terms of the 1936 Montreux Convention, which governs passage through the Bosporus straits, and according to Washington, the vessels have already left the Black Sea.

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