Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 59

U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen and Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze signed on March 24 in Washington an agreement on bilateral military cooperation. The document envisages U.S. assistance to Georgia in several areas, including control of national airspace and territorial waters, modernization of radio communications for land troops, and the planning and budgeting of national defense and security programs. The agreement also covers joint military exercises in 1998, both bilaterally and in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. Georgia will post a military attache in Washington. Unspecified "further programs" beyond this agreement are under discussion. Cohen will visit Georgia this year. (Western agencies, March 25)

This breakthrough agreement had been outlined during President Eduard Shevardnadze’s July 1997 visit to Washington. Until recently, Nadibaidze — with Shevardnadze’s approval — had sought to obtain Russian military assistance for Georgia on terms compatible with Georgia’s independence. Moscow, however, has conditioned such assistance on the legalization of its military bases in Georgia and other concessions unacceptable to Tbilisi.

Battle in Central Tajikistan Shows Opposition’s Strength.