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U.S. Lawmaker Urges Rearming Of Georgia

Georgia -- A Georgian man cries as he holds the body of his relative after a bombardment in Gori, 09Aug2008
A senior member of the U.S. Republican Party is urging the Obama administration and European allies to consider rearming Georgia.

In a report, Senator Richard Lugar said the destruction of Georgia's defenses during the brief August 2008 war with Russia left the country vulnerable to further attack.

In particular, the report said the destruction of Georgian radar and air defenses left Tbilisi unable to verify air incursions over its territory.

During the August 2008 war, Russia destroyed much of Georgia's military infrastructure and occupied two breakaway territories.

Russia has since recognized both Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries and established military bases close to their borders with Georgia proper.

The report urges the administration to coordinate a strategy within NATO that strikes a balance between Georgia's security needs and NATO's relationship with Russia.

"The Alliance must come to grips with the reality that Georgia will require coordinated security support from America and European nations for some years to come," Lugar writes in a letter accompanying the report.

The report also warns that Georgia's current insecurity could destabilize the country and lead to greater nationalism.

"A continuation of the status quo appears to ensure that Georgia will not only have difficulty providing for its own territorial defense needs but remain susceptible to the internal strife and external manipulation that often accompanies such national insecurity," the report says.

compiled from agency reports