US may rearm Georgia, despite Moscow’s opposition
The United States does not exclude possibly rearming Georgia following its humiliating defeat to Russia a year ago, even at the cost of angering Moscow, a State Department spokesman has said.world Updated: Jul 24, 2009 10:56 IST
The United States does not exclude possibly rearming Georgia following its humiliating defeat to Russia a year ago, even at the cost of angering Moscow, a State Department spokesman has said.
“Georgia is on a path that the United States supports toward NATO membership,” reminded Philip Crowley when asked about Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s calls for US military aid.
“Clearly, you know, a fundamental tenet of NATO membership is to have a military that meets NATO standards and would add to the capability of the alliance,” the spokesman added, before citing the “defense requirements” of the former Soviet Union republic.
In interviews with The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post this week on the eve of US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Georgia, Saakashvili asked for anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons from the United States in order to defend Georgia against a possible Russian attack.
As Biden met Saakashvili in Tbilisi yesterday, a senior Russian diplomat warned that Moscow would not permit Georgia to re-arm following a fierce, five-day war last August in which much of its military was destroyed.
“We will continue to prevent the re-arming of Saakashvili’s regime and are taking concrete measures against this,” Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with the state news agency ITAR-TASS.