Georgian Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, met on February 23 in Tbilisi visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste Wallander, and “discussed prospects of deepening bilateral cooperation,” the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.
It said that the officials discussed “how they can build on existing successful programs to help the Georgian military continue its reform and defense modernization efforts that supports Georgia’s self defense.”
Also on February 23 Georgian Defense Minister spoke on phone with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who expressed his condolences over death of three Georgian soldiers in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, according to the Georgian MoD.
Earlier on February 23, the visiting U.S. delegation, which also includes Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, Deputy Director for Plans, Policy and Strategy at the U.S. European Command, also met with representatives of the Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, according to MoD.
During the first day of visit on February 22, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense met with President Saakashvili and traveled to Gori in central Georgia where she visited National Defense Academy.