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NATO helps Georgia clear leftover mines

Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

BRUSSELS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- NATO said it closed its partnership project with Georgia that helped the country remove unexploded ordnance left from a 2008 war with Russia.

Georgian leaders were at NATO headquarters to mark the closing of a partnership aimed at clearing land mines and other unexploded ordnance in the country.

"Mines and unexploded ordnances represent a significant security challenge for Georgia, and this problem was exacerbated following the conflict with Russia in August 2008," NATO said.

Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili beat incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili in October presidential elections in Georgia. Saakashvili was criticized for going to war with Russia in 2008 over the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and for cutting diplomatic ties to Moscow.

Georgia received more than $790,000 worth of demining equipment as part of a NATO trust fund.

"This NATO project brings tangible results to people and makes NATO's work less abstract to society. It also improves livelihoods of those living in mine and unexploded ordnance affected areas," James Appathurai, NATO deputy assistant secretary-general for security policy, said in a statement.

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