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Georgian president’s visit to US canceled

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Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili’s official visit to the United States, scheduled for this autumn, won’t take place, the Rustavi 2 broadcaster reported on Thursday citing its sources. reports citing Rustavi 2.

According to the report, the visit, which had been prepared since this March by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, is canceled due to unknown reasons. The fact that the visit had been planned was confirmed by former Presidential Administration Chief Lasha Zhvania, who stepped down on Wednesday.

"In March we held talks that the visit will be held by autumn - by late September-early October," Zhvania told reporters. Neither the Foreign Ministry nor the presidential administration has commented on the visit.

Earlier, Zourabichvili told VOA's Georgian Service in an interview in Tbilisi published on Wednesday that the construction of US military base in Georgia is inadvisable and may be viewed as a provocation. According to Zourabichvili, a former French diplomat who became Georgia’s first woman president in December 2018, Georgia needs to deepen ties with Washington, but should not take any steps, which would provoke other countries. This Zourabichvili’s statement has been condemned by the Georgian opposition, which threatened to impeach the president.

Georgia and the United States signed the Charter on Strategic Partnership in 2009. Since 1994, Tbilisi has been boosting its cooperation with NATO and has stated many times about its desire to join the alliance. In August 2015, the Georgia-NATO Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) was opened at a military base in Krtsanisi near Tbilisi.

In 2016, the Defense Institution Building School was inaugurated in Tbilisi, and in May 2018 a combat training center was opened in Vaziani, near the Georgian capital, with the US assistance. This center, similar to the German base Hohenfels, is designed to train Georgian military. This April, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria put forward a proposal to provide the US and NATO countries with Georgia’s military infrastructure for holding drills.

2019.05.02 / 13:21
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