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Bakradze on U.S.-Georgia Charter
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Jan.'09 / 17:50

Davit Bakradze, the Parliamentary Chairman, said on January 8, that planned U.S.-Georgia charter on strategic partnership did not envisage deployment of the U.S. bases in Georgia.

“I want to stress that the document no way envisages deployment of the U.S. military bases on the Georgian soil. Our goal is to strengthen the Georgian army and to protect the Georgian soil with the Georgian army and not with the army of any foreign country,” Bakradze told Imedi TV.

Earlier on January 8, the opposition Labor Party said President Saakashvili was in talks with the U.S. authorities on deployment of the military bases in Georgia.

“Saakashvili is holding intensive negotiations with certain groups within the Bush administration offering them the Georgian soil for 90-year term for deployment of the American military bases here,” Nestan Kirtadze of the Labor Party said at a news conference on January 8. “Talks are underway on allocation of thousands of hectares of land without any rental fees. The Georgian Labor Party warns the Bush administration, also the incoming administration not to place traps in Caucasus and not to turn the region into a battleground of mega-states.”

“I do not know who the source of this information is, maybe [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez told them [the Labor Party] about it,” Mikheil Machavariani, the Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament said sarcastically.

The U.S.-Georgia charter on strategic partnership will be signed in Washington on January 9, officials in Tbilisi said.

“This will be the first formal document, which will reflect – in a written form – strategic partnership between Georgia and the United States, which is very important,” Davit Bakradze said. “The document will also say that the United States will continue assisting Georgia in enhancing its defense and security capabilities. It means assisting the Georgian army through training and equipment.”

The Department of State said in a press statement on December 23 that the charter will be similar to the one signed by the U.S. and Ukraine on December 19 - Charter on Strategic Partnership.

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