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United States Army Europe Commanding General Visits Georgia

Thursday, November 20
Commander of the United States Army Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges paid an official visit to Georgia. Minister of Defence of Georgia Janelidze and Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze hosted the American General at the Defence Ministry.

The U.S.-Georgian bilateral cooperation in the defence sphere and future plans were the main topics of discussion at the meeting. The sides underscored the importance of close cooperation between the United States Army, Europe and the Georgian Armed Forces.

Special focus was made on enhanced defense cooperation with the United States and support for the implementation of the Substantial Package Georgia received at the NATO Summit in Wales.

The Georgian side reiterated its commitment to continue its participation in the NATO ISAF mission, as well as to further contribute to NATO’s new Resolute Support Mission. Lieutenant- General Ben Hodges thanked the Defence Minister for Georgia’s contribution to global peace and security. The Georgian Defence Minister expressed appreciation for the important role the U.S. plays in the rehabilitation and treatment of the Georgian soldiers wounded in action.

After the meeting, Janelidze, Major-General Kapanadze and Lieutenant- General Ben Hodges visited the Command Center to observe the ongoing military exercise. They contacted various command centers of the Staff and Command Exercise Didgori 2014 via VTC.

Mindia Janelidze and Lieutenant- General Ben Hodges arranged a special briefing for the representatives of the media.

“Staff and Command Exercise Didgori 2014 is underway in Georgia. It is a very important exercise for the Georgian Army where our military servicemen are exercising their skills and experience gained during this year. I would like to extend special gratitude to our American partners who are actively involved in the organization of the exercise. Moreover, their contribution to building the Georgian Armed Forces is invaluable. General Hodges has arrived in Georgia to personally observe the ongoing exercise and take part in its assessment and analysis,” Mindia Janelidze said.

“I became the Commander of the United States Army Europe just two weeks ago, in the beginning of November. This is the first official visit that I have made as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe, so my first visit outside Germany was to Tbilisi, and to visit this exercise. I believe that is a testimony of the commitment of the United States to support our strategic partner, Georgia. I would also like to say to the families of the soldiers from Georgia who were wounded in Afghanistan that we pray for their recovery and good health. *We are sorry for their wounds. I was very impressed of what I saw this morning watching the Minister of Defence as part of this exercise. When your Minister of Defence is personally involved as part of the training along with his advisors wrestling with the challenges of securing the nation is very impressive. Finally, I look for later this morning going up to the training area and see more of the training as well,” declared Lieutenant- General Ben Hodges.