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    U.S. has no plans to render military assistance to Georgia in 2009

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    The United States has no plans to provide Georgia with military assistance in 2009, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has no plans to provide Georgia with military assistance in 2009, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday.

    He said Washington would only supply humanitarian aid to Tbilisi next year.

    Howard told Russian reporters he had discussed the issue with his counterpart from the lower house of Russia's parliament, Konstantin Kosachyov.

    "We regard as crucial the confirmation on the part of Mr. Berman that the United States is not interested in maintaining the conflict and is ready to help resolve it," Kosachyov said.

    Relations between NATO and Russia sank to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War during the recent conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi over Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

    The U.S. supported its ally Georgia throughout the crisis and sent millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the South Caucasus state. Russia however expressed concern over the aid shipments, saying that it suspected they could include arms. The U.S. denied the allegation.

    The war began when Georgia forces attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to rein in the rebel region. After a five-day military operation to 'force Georgia to peace', Russia recognized the republic as an independent state, along with another Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia. The vast majority of residents of both republics have had Russian citizenship since the early 2000s.

    Moscow blamed Western powers for encouraging Tbilisi to attack South Ossetia and suspended all peacekeeping operations with NATO for at least six months. It has also frozen its participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

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