11 Sep 2016 - 00:05
France's Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian is promising his country will help Georgia strengthen its ability to defend itself.
Le Drian was in Georgia today for talks on ways to boost Georgia’s air defences.
Georgia has a mission to join the [North-Atlantic] Alliance," Le Drian said.
We will soon make a proposal for action so that Georgia is able to develop effective means of (ensuring) its air defence, which is central to its sovereignty."
In the history of independent Georgia, Le Drian’s visit marked the first time a French Defence Minister visited the country. Both French and Georgian sides said this was a sign of France’s strong support for Georgia and its sovereignty.
Defence Ministers of France (L) and Georgia. Photo by MOD Georgia.
Standing beside his Georgian counterpart Levan Izoria at a Tbilisi press conference earlier this evening, Le Drian said the two sides would soon create a plan to help boost Georgia’s air defences.
He added an expert French air defence officer would come to Georgia for negotiations and further planning the form of cooperation before the end of this year.
Georgia’s Defence Minister Izoria added France was helping Georgia implement the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package of support, particularly the important component regarding Georgia’s air defences.
Meanwhile air defence wasn’t the only topic discussed today. The French and Georgian officials spoke about increasing Frenc representation in the Black Sea to ensure regional security.
A French ship will make a port visit in Batumi in October. This will be another symbol of our cooperation,” Le Drian said.
Georgia and France have very tight, stable and constructive cooperation. My visit will further strengthen our relations.”
On another note, today the French and Georgian Defence Minsters announced more Georgian soldiers would serve in the Central African Republic.
In the near future, when a deal is signed, 20 Georgian soldiers will travel to the Central African Republic to participate in a peacekeeping mission with French troops,” Izoria said.
The two officials touched on how to deepen joint military trainings, to which Le Drian said exchanges programs would extend so more Georgian cadets were able to study in France.
The French Defence Minister is in Georgia for a three-day official visit.