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Saakashvili Wants U.S. to Help with Defensive Arms
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Sep.'10 / 22:57

Tbilisi hopes the U.S. would help with defensive weapons as part of ongoing security cooperation between the two countries, President Saakashvili said, according to excerpts from his interview with Newsweek

"Leaving Georgia defenseless doesn’t help the situation," Saakashvili was quoted. "Georgia can’t attack Russia, while a defenseless Georgia is a big temptation for Russia to change our government through military means."

"Every time [Russia's PM Vladimir] Putin has run for president, he has gone to war before. It looks like he will run for reelection, so of course that worries us. As part of ongoing security cooperation, we hope that the U.S. will help us with defense-weapons capabilities. But I don’t think there are clear deadlines for anything here."

Asked if another conflict with Russia was likely, Saakashvili said although Tbilisi wanted to avoid it "Russia might be planning something."

"Right now there is less of a threat than we had one year ago. What helps here is the improved U.S.-Russia balance. But it’s not a done deal; we should all be vigilant," he said.

"There is no formal security assurance," Saakashvili said when asked if the U.S. had given any security assurances in case of Russia's attack. "I think what we are seeing now is much more diplomacy to avoid a new conflict. Before 2008, nobody believed it was possible. Now people want to avoid it; they know it’s possible."

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