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    REVIEW: NATO Grooms Georgia As Its New Member in South Caucasus

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    This past week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continued its ongoing efforts to prepare the nation of Georgia for full membership in the military bloc.

    MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti), Rick Rozoff - This past week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continued its ongoing efforts to prepare the nation of Georgia for full membership in the military bloc.

    A meeting of the NATO Military Committee, consisting of military representatives and the chiefs of defense of the 28 full members of the alliance, and the chief of the Georgian armed forces, head of the General Staff Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, occurred in Brussels a week ago.

    According to the Georgian Defense Ministry, issues discussed included assorted partnership matters and, with no details being offered,  plans for the further development of Georgia's special operations forces.

    The meeting, held within the framework of the NATO-Georgia Commission, established a month after Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili precipitated a five-day war with Russia in August of 2008, was presided over by General Philip Breedlove, jointly NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the top commander of U.S. European Command.

    Shortly thereafter, Deputy Defense Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili led a delegation of Georgian defense personnel in a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in which the Georgian mission in Afghanistan and continued efforts by the nation's American and other NATO nations' sponsors to further interoperability between the Caucasus state and the North Atlantic Alliance in regard to weaponry, military tactics and command structure and equipment were deliberated over. The results of the exchange will be forwarded to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's top governing body.

    At the time of the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, provoked by Tbilisi's assault on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinval, Georgia was the third-largest troop contributor for the military occupation of Iraq, providing 2,000 personnel, with only the US and Britain supplying more. Those Georgian forces were flown home on American military transport aircraft during the aforementioned war. Currently, Georgia has over 1,500 troops serving under NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the largest contingent of soldiers assigned for that war by any non-NATO member state.

    The Georgian armed forces have been trained by the US and its NATO allies over for past twelve years.

    Georgia, which NATO promised full membership at the bloc's summit in Bucharest, Romania in 2008, is one of four aspirant countries, as NATO calls them; that is, those nations next in line for full membership in the US-controlled military alliance, the longest lived in modern times - having celebrated its 65th anniversary this April 4th - and the largest in history, with 28 members and over 40 partners. The other aspirants are former Yugoslav federal republics Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

    NATO, Georgia
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