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Issue #760

03.04.15 - 09.04.15

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Georgians to Support NATO alongside US Forces

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Author:  Beqa Kirtava

It has been announced that Georgian soldiers, alongside US Marines, will deploy together as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. An official departure ceremony was held on March 24, 2015 at Vaziani Training Center.

Georgia’s current contribution to NATO is the largest since the country’s first participation in the mission. The country has annually deployed military forces to support the Afghanistan missions since 2001. “We don’t get the chance to choose our country, to choose our neighbors, or to choose when we serve, but by supporting international security, you guarantee safety and the safety of your own country,” said Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, Chief of Defence of the Georgian Armed Forces.

“This Georgian battalion training has evolved and is among the most sophisticated of any force that will be fielded to Afghanistan or any global-security environment,” stated Brig. Gen. Norman L. Cooling, Deputy Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa. Kapanadze also placed special emphasis on the level of professionalism of the Georgian soldiers, saying: “You are better trained, more experienced and better prepared for the task at hand than we ever had before”.

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British Embassy in Tbilisi Highlights the Work of ‘Conflict Pool’

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On 31 March UK Ambassador to Georgia Alexandra Hall Hall hosted a reception to highlight the UK’s contribution to conflict resolution efforts across the South Caucasus and to thank current project partners for their valuable work. The UK’s Conflict Pool funding mechanism was established to enhance the effectiveness of the UK’s contribution to conflict prevention and resolution and has been funding a range of projects aimed at the resolution of past and on-going conflicts and the prevention of new ones.

“In the last year the UK invested just under Ј3m on projects aimed at conflict-resolution across the region” said Ambassador Hall Hall ahead of the event. “This year, recognising the new challenges facing the region and the increase in tensions, the UK has increased its spending to Ј4m. We will continue working with other international organisations and our partners to advance peace and stability across the region.”

The event in Tbilisi brought together both current and potential project partners of the UK embassy. “I think it is absolutely vital to bring all people together and give them a space to share not only what they have done but also what should be done,” Murad Nasibov from the Eurasia Partnership Foundation told Georgia Today.

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Deadline Passes for Iran Nuclear Deal

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Author:  Joseph Larsen

Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany – failed to yield a deal prior to Tuesday’s interim deadline. Statements indicate that progress had been made, however, and talks resumed on Wednesday. Both sides appear to be pushing for a comprehensive agreement in advance of late June’s hard deadline.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented that “all key aspects” had been agreed, but officials in several western capitals said that particulars still needed to be agreed upon. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that the sides had come together on “quite a bit.”

While the Obama administration has arguably the most at stake in pushing for an early resolution, the State Department stated that “enough progress” had been made to merit an extension of the preliminary deadline.

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