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U.S. rules out creating military bases in Georgia

RIA Novosti

18:30 20/10/2009 TBILISI, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - The United States will not establish military bases in Georgia but will help the country to modernize its defense system and integrate into NATO, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

"We are working together with our Georgian friends on a long-term program of assistance to Georgia's efforts to carry out defense reforms and defense modernization, and to improve its candidacy as a prospective member of NATO," U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow told a news conference in Tbilisi.

He also said the United States has no plans to deploy missile defense elements in non-NATO countries.

"We are not consulting with any non-NATO countries and we do not envisage the placement of elements of our new architecture on the territory of non-NATO member states," he said.

Russia has expressed concern over U.S. missile defense plans involving countries outside NATO.

Vershbow previously said the United States was considering Ukraine as a possible site for a radar station as part of its new missile defense configuration in Europe, and Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, Oleh Shamshur, said on Thursday that the issue "is being discussed on the working level, at a preliminary stage."

President Viktor Yushchenko clarified the following day that no request has been received to host U.S. missile defense facilities, but that existing radar facilities could be "integrated into a European or global security system."

U.S. President Barack Obama in September scrapped plans to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran. Moscow fiercely opposed the plans as a national security threat.

According to the Obama administration's new plan, land-based missile defense shields will not be implemented before 2015. Sea-based defenses will be operating in the Mediterranean up to 2015.

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