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French Defense Minister Pledges To Help Tbilisi During Georgia Visit

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (file photo)

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has begun an official visit to Georgia for talks focusing on boosting Tbilisi’s military defenses.

Speaking in Tbilisi on September 10 at the start of his three-day visit, Le Drian said France would “soon make a proposal for action so that Georgia is able to develop effective means of [ensuring] its air defense, which is central to its sovereignty.”

Tbilisi last year signed a $10 million deal with Paris on the acquisition of air defenses.

Most of Georgia’s air-defense systems were destroyed in August 2008 during a brief war with Russia.

Le Drian met with Georgia’s Defense Minister Levan Izoria on September 10.

France’s embassy in Tbilisi said Le Drian was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirkashvili on September 11 and with President Giorgi Margvelashvili on September 12.

NATO leaders agreed in 2008 that Georgia will one day become a member of the alliance but has refused so far to put the former Soviet republic on a formal membership path amid concerns about Russia's reaction to the move.

Based on reporting by AFP and