U.S. Warship Docks In Georgian Port Near Russian Border
May 9, 2014
U.S. Navy Frigate Makes Port Visit in Batumi
Tbilisi: U.S. Navy frigate USS Taylor arrived in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on May 8 for a three-day port visit.
“Taylor’s presence in Georgia reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region,” the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said at a government session on May 8 that the visit of the U.S. warship underlines once again “friendship” between the U.S. and Georgia. He expressed “regret” that won’t be able to visit the warship because of tight schedule.
It is USS Taylor’s second visit to Georgia; the first time when the frigate made a port visit in Georgia was in December, 2008, when it arrived in the port of Poti.
The last time when U.S. warship visited Georgia was in November, 2013, when the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney, made a three-day port call in Batumi and conducted combined training exercises with the Georgian coast guard.
USS Taylor, which returned in the Black Sea late last month, completed on May 6 joint live-fire exercise and an anti-submarine warfare scenario along with four Romanian ships.
The French intelligence-gathering ship Dupuy de Lôme made a port visit in Batumi in late April.
The U.S. 6th Fleet said in press release that USS Taylor’s joint exercises with the Romanian warships “aimed at improving maritime capabilities and reassuring our NATO allies and partners of our commitment to the alliance and to their security.”
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, tweeted on May 7: “Allied ships, planes, exercises show vigilance & resolve from Baltic to the Black Sea. We’ll keep reinforcing NATO security.”
May 8, 2014
U.S. Defense Secretary Meets Georgian Defense Minister
Tbilisi : U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania at the Pentagon on May 7.
“Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and he encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability,” Pentagon readout of the meeting says.
“The two leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce our international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow.”
“Secretary Hagel reaffirmed the importance of the U.S. partnership with Georgia, and pledged to continue our strong defense cooperation,” a Pentagon spokesman said.
Irakli Alasania said after the meeting that he had “very productive” talks with the U.S. Defense Secretary.
“We continue dialogue what steps the U.S. and Georgia should take in order to enhance Georgia’s security and defence capability. I’d like to outline that we have progress in this direction and this meeting once more confirms that strategic partnership in defence and security sphere between Georgia and USA is strengthening,” Alasania said.
The Georgian Ministry of Defense said that during the meeting Alasania “overviewed progress in Georgia’s defence transformation.”
“He emphasized on the reforms made in transparency, accountability, NATO BI [Building Integrity] program, as well as in parliamentary oversight and cooperation with NGOs, procurement transparency and internal audit. Secretary Hagel encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability. He thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan,” the Georgian MoD said.
This is the second meeting of Alasania and Hagel at the Pentagon; the first one was held in August, 2013.