Georgia Wants U.S. to Provide Defensive Weapons
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Jul.'09 / 12:59

President Saakashvili will urge U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, who will arrive in Tbilisi on Wednesday evening, to supply Georgia with defensive weapons, The Washington Post reported on July 22.

“I think the decision to help us is there,” The Washington Post quoted Saakashvili. "It's a matter of speeding up the process… We want the country to still be around when those things start to arrive here.”

“It's a much slower process than we would like it to be. It's just a matter of: Are we a regular country in a regular situation that can wait many years… or can we make it faster and more efficient?”

He said in an interview with the newspaper that speeding up of supply of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Georgia “would make any hotheads think twice about further military adventures.” 

“There are hundreds of reasons to attack Georgia,” Saakashvili was quoted. “The only thing to stop him [referring to Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin] is a clear unequivocal message from the West that there's going to be very grave consequences."

Supply of defensive weapons, he said, would “strengthen our political hand”; but in case of absence of such supplies, he continued, would be seen as weakness.

“I think that would be the surest sign for the Russians: 'Go and get them',” he added.

U.S. Vice President’s national security advisor, Tony Blinken, told journalists on July 17 when he was asked if the United States would refrain from arms supplies to Georgia: “We are working with Georgia with defense reform and defense modernization, and I think it's important that, as Georgia has been an important partner for us in different places around the world, that it has the ability to be a strong partner. Our focus is on doctrine, on education and on training, and preparing for Georgia's future deployments to Afghanistan.”

U.S. Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander of the NATO forces and U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said in early June that it was “reasonable for Georgia to possess a capable military for its own defense and to participate in coalition operations.”

He then continued: “I agree with current, prudent policy to focus our security cooperation with Georgia on fundamental intellectual issues like training, doctrine, and personnel management – the recent Partnership for Peace exercise in Georgia was an example of this. This provides a measured and meaningful way to help a country that has helped us in Iraq and has voiced its willingness to assist the US in Afghanistan.”

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