1 Nov 2018 11:30

Georgia to keep buying U.S. weapons - defense minister

TBILISI. Nov 1 (Interfax) - Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria on Thursday confirmed Tbilisi's plans to continue acquiring tactical weapons from the United States, Georgian media reported.

Izoria denied media reports published following U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton's recent visit that the U.S. diplomat had allegedly expressed doubt whether the decision to sell Javelin portable anti-tank missile systems to Georgia was right.

Izoria dismissed such reports as "disinformation".

During his visit to Georgia, Bolton reaffirmed strong support for the reforms, especially in defense, being implemented by the Georgian government, the minister said.

Bolton reaffirmed at his meetings in Tbilisi that the delivery of Javelin systems to Georgia is an important event, Izoria said.

Izoria also said that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis told him at one of their meetings that such decisions are made only in relation to countries which the U.S. trusts and whose successes it recognizes.

The anti-tank systems bought from the U.S. are reliably guarded, the minister said.

"It is within the framework of this trust and recognition that we will continue buying tactical weapons of different types from the U.S.," he said.

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani on Wednesday rebuked representatives of the opposition United National Movement for using information about Bolton's recent visit to Georgia published on a dubious website with the aim of criticizing the country's authorities.

"Inaccurate information picked up by our opponents has been spread. Unfortunately, they are manipulating issues related to the strategic partnership between Georgia and the U.S.," the foreign minister said, describing the fact that it coincided with the period of the presidential election in the country as suspicious.