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NATO Opens Training Center In Georgia


NATO says a new training center in Georgia will help the Caucasus country to move closer to membership in the military alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was speaking at the opening of the center at a military base outside the capital Tbilisi on August 27.

Stoltenberg said the center was part of a package of measures to boost Georgia's defense capabilities agreed at a summit last September.

The center will provide theoretical and practical training for Georgian soldiers and officers by NATO personnel.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said the training center was not aimed against any country, but meant to bolster "regional security, peace and stability."

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the opening of the center was "provocative."

Russia, which fought a 2008 war with Georgia over two Moscow-backed breakaway regions, opposes Georgia joining NATO, saying such a move would threaten its security.

With about 885 soldiers, Georgia is the second-largest contributor of troops after the United States to NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters

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