TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Defense Minister signals that his country will strengthen its military capability.
Bacho Akhalaia made the statement on February 2 after the meeting his U.S. counterpart Leon Panetta at a meeting of defense ministers among NATO members and partner countries in Brussels.
“From now own we will have an opportunity to think of the help which will entirely focus to develop the armed forces, which finally will provide the increase of the country’s defense capability,” Akhalaia said.
He also informed that the background for him meeting Panetta was an agreement between Obama and Saakashvili the day before in Washington.
The latter said military cooperation between the two countries would be strengthened, but no further details were provided as to what this meant.
He also said there would be meetings between U.S. and Georgian governmental representatives.
After the meeting in Brussels, Akhalaia said that with he discussed with his U.S. counterpart how to strengthen the military cooperation between Georgia and the USA.
“This was a completely new phase of the relations, which means that if we had been focused on the military trainings and military supports before, which basically was for the military units which participate in the ISAF operation; from now on we will have the opportunity to think of help which will entirely focus to develop the armed forces, which finally will provide the increase of the country’s defense capability,” Akhalaia stated.
He says the U.S. expressed readiness to increase help to increase the Georgian defense capability, “which means transition of the cooperation into a qualitatively new level, deepening the existing priority directions, implementing specific training and cooperation programs.”
The Georgian Defense Ministry also stated that consultations will continue, where cooperation issues will be more specifically discussed.