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NATO training center in Georgia to escalate tension in Black Sea region — Russian diplomat

February 06, 2015, 9:09 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

Moscow says in the Black Sea region there are all conditions to have security provided by regional states

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BRUSSELS, February 6. /TASS/. NATO's plan of setting up a training center in Georgia is a step towards escalating tension in the Black Sea region, Russia’s representative at NATO Alexander Grushko told reporters on Friday.

"A training center in Georgia is a step, which cannot be taken other than provocative. NATO does not need any centers," the diplomat said. "We shall be looking into the issue, but establisheng NATO military objects in Georgia is a step towards tension and aggravation of the regional security."

"Our position is that in the Black Sea region there are all conditions to have security provided by regional states. I mean by countries of the Black Sea," he said.

NATO military base in Georgia

Earlier this week, a NATO spokesman told a news briefing that the alliance is planning to open a military training center in Georgia for NATO members and partner states. It is particularly valuable, since Georgia has a unique geographical position, the spokesman added.

The spokesman also unveiled NATO plans to hold military exercises in Georgia this year.

In late January, 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.

Vaziani is considered as a possible location for a NATO training center, the minister said.

The new training center would be set up as part of a package of measures to boost Georgia's defense capabilities agreed at the Wales summit in September, said Vershbow, noting that he hoped the center would become operational by the end of this year.

Reaction of South Ossetia

South Ossetia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday NATO’s plans to hold military drills and establish a military training center in Georgia will only destabilize the situation in the Caucasus region.

"It’s evident that training Georgian armed forces and also holding NATO drills in Georgia will become a factor of tensions and destabilization as it forces countries that are not NATO members to take adequate measures for the goals of safety from aggression of Georgia and its allies," a ministry spokesperson said.

The North Atlantic Alliance’s steps in Georgia will not contribute to promoting the negotiation process in the format of Geneva discussions, the spokesperson said, adding that Tbilisi refuses to sign a binding document on non-use of force.

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