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NATO chief accepts invitation to Georgia

  |   June 14, 2013 at 9:18 AM
BRUSSELS, June 14 (UPI) -- The government of Georgia invited top NATO officials to the country for a two-day visit later in June, the alliance said Friday.

"At the invitation of the Georgian authorities, the North Atlantic Council chaired by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will visit Georgia on June 26-27," NATO said in a statement Friday.

Georgia aspires to join NATO. It's the largest contributor of forces to the international mission in Afghanistan among non-NATO members.

Allied heads of state in 2008 agreed to Georgia's accession provided it embraces defense and political reforms.

Georgia was accused of selective justice after supporters of embattled President Mikheil Saakashvili were arrested on charges of abusing political office and corruption. Saakashvili was criticized for his 2008 decision to go to war with Russia over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Tensions rekindled briefly in early June when Russian security forces erected a security fence along the border with South Ossetia

Rasmussen said a stable and democratic Georgia is welcome as an eventual NATO member.

Georgia holds elections later this year.

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