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Hagel Due To Visit Georgia

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will discuss how Georgia can contribute to the fight against the Islamic State during a visit to Tblisi.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to travel to Georgia on September76.

Hagel will arrive in Tblisi after attending the NATO summit in Wales, where the Ukraine crisis and the battle against the Islamic State dominated talks.

Georgia's defense minister said Hagel will discuss with Georgian officials ways it can help in the battle against Islamic State fighters, who have taken control of large swaths of Iraq and some territory in Syria.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told Reuters on the sidelines of the NATO summit on September 5 that Hagel's visit to Tbilisi was a demonstration of U.S. support for Georgia.

Alasania also expressed hope for deepening defense ties with the United States, citing past discussions about bolstering Georgia's defense capabilities, including air defenses.

Georgia is hoping to join the military alliance, despite strong opposition from Moscow.

Tbilisi has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, where more than 30 Georgian soldiers have been killed.

Based on reporting by Reuters