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Georgian Speaker Upbeat On Chances Of Joining NATO --> (file photo) 14 April 2005 -- Following talks with NATO officials in Brussels, the speaker of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burdjandze, is optimistic over her country's chances of joining the alliance.

Speaking to Georgia's Imedi TV channel last night after returning to Tbilisi, she said NATO officials want Georgia in the military alliance "as soon as possible."

Burdjanadze said cooperation between Georgia and NATO was very good. She also said a NATO representative would likely travel to Tbilisi at the end of the month for talks on furthering cooperation between the alliance and Georgia.

Since his election last year, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to strengthen ties with Western institutions like NATO and the European Union.