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Georgian Leader Saakashvili Offers Afghan Supply Route

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (right) with the commander of U.S. air forces in Europe, General Roger Brady, in Tbilisi on December 7
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is offering the United States use of Georgian territory to transport arms and supplies to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Saakashvili is quoted in an interview with AP as outlining a proposal to develop a corridor for the shipment of armaments across Georgia and Central Asia to Afghanistan.

The report says Georgia is offering its Black Sea ports to Western military supply ships, and its airports for refueling points for cargo planes.

The report quotes U.S. defense officials as saying the U.S. Defense Department is aware of Saakashvili's willingness, but has not significantly explored the proposal.

President Barack Obama's White House declined comment.

The United States currently uses an Afghan supply corridor through Russia and Central Asia, as well as a primary route via Pakistan.

Georgia, which Saakashvili has been seeking to steer toward NATO and European Union membership, has contributed hundreds of troops to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan.

compiled from agency reports