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Georgia to host NATO air exercise July 9-20

RIA Novosti

15/03/2007 17:31 TBILISI, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia will host a multinational military exercise, Cooperative Archer 2007, under the Partnership for Peace Program, July 9-20, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.

It said about 500 servicemen will take part.

A Site Survey Team of NATO Allied Air Component Command made a four-day official visit to Georgia in January, inspecting in particular two military air bases, Marneuli and Alekseevka.

Georgia's minister for Euro-Atlantic integration met with a NATO assistant secretary Wednesday, a day after parliament voted unanimously to join the alliance.

Since U.S.-educated President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in the South Caucasus republic, it has been seeking to join NATO and the European Union and reduce its dependence on Russia, including in energy.

Giorgi Baramidze informed NATO's Jean Fournet about Georgia's progress in meeting the obligations it had assumed under the Intensive Dialogue partnership program.

Georgia expects integration with NATO to help it restore control over its two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to replace Russian and ex-Soviet peacekeepers in the area with an international contingent.

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