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U.S. Announces New Military Assistance Program for Georgia
/ 5 Nov.'04 / 12:44
Civil Georgia

U.S. military instructors have already trained
more than 2,000 Georgian troops.

Following Georgia’s decision to boost its presence in the coalition forces in Iraq from the current 159 to 850, the United States announced that it will launch a new military assistance program for Georgia to train its troops in peace support operations.

On November 4 spokesman of the U.S. Department of State Richard Boucher said that the U.S. welcomes Georgia’s contribution in the coalition forces and added that Washington will offer "additional training to help Georgia sustain this deployment."

He also said that representatives from the U.S. European Command will make an assessment to figure out Georgian troops’ needs in this respect.

He also said that Georgian troops in Iraq will "provide security for the United Nations' presence in Iraq."

Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi after talks with visiting NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on November 4, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said that the United States will launch a new, large-scale military assistance program for Georgian troops in peace support operations.

"Because of our active engagement in the peacekeeping operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, the United States announced a new program; training of the Georgian troops in peace support operations will be carried out in frames of this new program. Twice as many troops will be trained within the frames of the new program than were trained during the previous assistance program," Saakashvili said.

The United States allocated USD 64 million to help Georgia in training about 2,400 troops in frames of the Georgia Train-and-Equip Program (GTEP) in 2002-2004.

"As a result [of the new assistance program] the core of our army will finally be set up soon with the help of the American [military] instructors," Mikheil Saakashvili said.

But the details of the military assistance program have not yet been unveiled. However, Georgian media has speculated recently about the possible allocation of USD 40 million by the U.S. government to train 4,000 Georgian troops. But this data have not been officially confirmed yet.

"The Unites States intends to allocate serious funds for this assistance program. But I can not say any details; because I have no right to do so until the Unites States itself announces this. But I can say that it will be a really very serious assistance program to help us in the creation of peacekeeping forces," Georgian Defense Minister Giorgi Baramidze told Civil Georgia on November 4.

Giorgi Baramidze also said that the United States has so far committed USD 15 million for military assistance for Georgia, but he added, this amount might increase with the launch of a new program.

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