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Party Time In Poti

9 p.m. local time (5 p.m. GMT)

Hundreds of people are still in the port welcoming the "USS Mount Whitney." Defense minister, David Kezerashvili, who was at the port, said that the ship's arrival sent a message to Moscow.

Even now, when I'm writing this, the cafes and restaurants surrounding the port are full of life -- such a change from recent days. People knew the Russians weren't happy about the American ship dropping anchor and were just happy that nothing bad happened.

On board, there's about 17 tons of humanitarian aid, which will be distributed tomorrow by smaller vessels as the ship is some distance from the shore.

I spoke with a member of the city council, Kakha Svanidze, who said that Georgians should be very grateful to Americans for the aid shipment. He said he hopes that other countries will stand by Georgia as well. Another city council member said he's very pleased about the reaction of the local residents. So many people showed up and he kept expressing his gratitude for that.

Tomorrow, Economic Development Minister Eka Sharashidze will arrive here. She's expected to discuss the prospects for increasing the turn over of cargo at the port and will call on businesses to invest in Poti. So hopefully this is the beginning of a happy ending.