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French Warship Visits Georgian Port

Georgian children in traditional clothing perform during a welcoming ceremony for the French antisubmarine frigate "Jean de Vienne" in Batumi.
A French warship has arrived at Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi for exercises with Georgia's coast guard.

The antisubmarine frigate will spend four days conducting joint training exercises.

French Ambassador to Georgia Eric Fournier told the French news agency AFP the visit "sends a message of support to Georgia and highlights our commitment to regional security."

Georgia has sought to build closer ties with the West and to join NATO since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2003.

Russia has criticized visits to the country by NATO warships as provocative.

compiled from agency reports