Obama Thanks Georgia for Afghan Deployment
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Apr.'10 / 03:52

U.S. President Barack Obama called President Saakashvili on April 6 to thank for Georgia's "significant contribution" in the Afghan operation, the White House said.

"The President relayed the strong support of the United States for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They discussed the importance of all sides avoiding provocative actions to build stability in the region," the White House said in a statement.

"The President appreciated President Saakashvili’s continuing commitment to democratic and economic reforms in order to fulfill the promise of the Rose Revolution."

The White House also said that the two presidents also discussed Nuclear Security Summit in Washington planned for April 12-13. President Saakashvili will be among leaders and senior officials from 47 countries participating in the summit.

The Georgian President's administration said that during the phone conversation President Saakashvili thanked the U.S. President for inviting him to take part in the summit.

Georgian President's spokesperson said on March 23 that a bilateral meeting between the Georgian and U.S. presidents was "not ruled out" on a sideline of the summit.

However, as of April 6 President Obama's schedule of bilateral meetings on sideline of the summit does not include the one with President Saakashvili. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs listed planned meetings with leaders from nine countries, including with President Sargsyan of Armenia and President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

The Georgian President's administration said in a statement that during the phone conversation regional security and Georgia's democratic reforms were also discussed.

"The Presidents also spoke about the ongoing reforms in Georgia and the importance of the upcoming local elections. President Saakashvili thanked President Obama for America's continued assistance in helping to build an enduring liberal democracy in Georgia," the Georgian President's administration said.

"Both Presidents reaffirmed that a stable and democratic Georgia was a key to regional peace, cooperation, and progress," it added.

Meanwhile in Tbilisi senior U.S. military officials held talks with the Georgian counterparts on April 6 to discuss details of deployment of Georgian infantry battalion in the province of Helmand alongside with the U.S. marines.

Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command, Lt. Gen. Richard F. Natonski and Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces in Europe Brig. Gen. Paul W. Brier met with Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and chief of joint staff Devi Chankotadze.

Deployment of 31st infantry battalion next week will mark increase of number of Georgian troops in Afghanistan up to 950, making Georgia the largest per capita contributor to the Afghan operation. Georgia sent 175 soldiers to Afghanistan to serve under the French command last November.

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