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BRUSSELS, February 3. /TASS/. NATO is moving forward with plans to set up a training center in Georgia.
A NATO spokesman told a news briefing ahead of a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels on February 5: "NATO is planning to open a military training center in Georgia for NATO members and partner states."
The issue would be discussed at a session of the NATO-Georgia Commission, due to be held in the Belgian capital during the defense ministers’ meeting, the spokesman said.
He added that the alliance also planned to hold military drills in Georgia starting this year.
"NATO will hold exercises in Georgia this year," he said. "We will hold periodic military exercises in Georgia as part of our cooperation with that country next year."
On January 30, Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow visited the Vaziani military base, located some 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
Janelidze said Vaziani had been considered as one of the possible locations for a NATO training center to be based in the former Soviet republic.
The new training center would be set up as part of a package of measures to boost Georgia's defense capabilities agreed at a summit in September, said Vershbow, noting that he hoped the centre would become operational by the end of this year.
A group of NATO specialists are expected to come to Georgia this month to determine whether the Vaziani base meets the necessary requirements.