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TBILISI, February 19. /TASS/. Tbilisi’s cooperation with NATO is not aimed at placing the military infrastructure of the North-Atlantic Alliance in Georgia, the country’s prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia said on Thursday.
"Georgia as an independent state has the right to cooperate with any international organization, including NATO," Zurab Abashidze said, assuring that "this cooperation with NATO is not aimed at placing the alliance’s military infrastructure in the country."
Meanwhile, following a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission in Brussels on February 5, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced plans of active military construction in Georgia.
A team of experts will be sent to advise Georgia’s authorities on defense reforms, and a Joint Training Center in Tbilisi will be set up, where "NATO troops, Georgian troops and forces from partner nations will train and exercise together," Stoltenberg said.
More than a dozen NATO allies are contributing to this effort, while some of them have already announced contributions. "This is a clear signal of NATO’s strong commitment to Georgia," he stressed.
Besides, until the year-end, NATO and the alliance’s partners are planning to hold military maneuvers in Georgia. In future, such drills should be held on a permanent basis.
Abashidze said Georgia would not take any steps that could hurt the security of the region. He also said "everyone knows well that the issue of Georgia’s joining NATO is not on the agenda for today or tomorrow."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the meeting with his South Ossetian counterpart David Sanakoyev on Wednesday that "dragging" Georgia into NATO would not facilitate stability in the South Caucasus region.