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Georgian MFA Responds to Russia’s Criticism of Noble Partner Drills
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 May.'16 / 14:12

A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion., 64th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, inspects the track bolts on a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in preparation for Noble Partner exercises at Vaziani training area outside Tbilisi; May 6, 2016. Photo via DVIDS

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that upcoming joint military exercises, Noble Partner, with participation of the U.S and UK troops are not directed against anyone.

The statement was made in response to the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said on May 6 that the joint military exercises outside Tbilisi planned for May 11-26 is “a provocative step”, directed against stability in the region. It also accused the U.S. and “its allies” of encouraging Tbilisi’s “revanchist aspirations” vis-à-vis its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We want to unequivocally state that Georgia is an independent and sovereign state, which has the right to hold any type of exercises on its territory. It is sovereign right of Georgia to determine its military partners and forms of cooperation with them,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 7.

“It is noteworthy that these drills are not directed against any party. Similar military exercises were also held last year in Georgia. Such drills deepens Georgia’s cooperation with partners in military and training fields, which is important for increasing country’s self-defense capabilities. Interoperability with NATO, like military cooperation with the U.S. and other partners, is a long-standing declared policy of Georgia,” it said.

“It is first and foremost in Georgia’s interests to maintain stability in the Caucasus region, and our position, which has been declared for multiple times, is that all the conflicts in the region should be solved peacefully,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

500 Georgian, 650 U.S. and 150 United Kingdom service members will participate in annual military exercises Noble Partner. The U.S. army’s tank company with M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks was sent from Bulgaria across the Black Sea to Georgia via ferry for the first time for the purpose of the drills.

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