No Pentagon plans for Georgian base

The United States won't put military bases or elements of its antimissile system in Georgia but it will help the country integrate into NATO, a senior US official said on a visit to Tbilisi.

“We are not consulting with any non-NATO countries and we don’t envisage the emplacement of elements of our new architecture on the territory of non-member states,” assured Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow.

He added: “We’ve begun some preliminary discussions with Russia about possible contributions it can make with its own assets to a cooperative missile defense, but these discussions are at an early stage.”

Neither does Washington plan to deploy any military base in Georgian territory, the official said.

The Georgian side has announced on several occasions that it is ready to consider hosting American military facilities if such a move is offered.

Vershbow reiterated American support for Tbilisi’s aspiration to join the North Atlantic alliance and announced a special plan currently under development in Washington, which is to bring Georgia closer to NATO entry requirements.

Earlier, Vershbow made headlines by fingering Ukraine as a possible host to elements of the new missile defense. The Ukrainian constitution specifically forbids hosting foreign military bases, as critics were quick to point out.

Amidst the reports on possible ways to develop the antimissile shield, Moscow voiced its concerns, saying it would like to see more clarity over Washington's plans.

The Obama administration altered the Bush era anti-missile in Eastern Europe last month, dispelling much of Russia’s concerns over it. Russia had long been opposed to the plans, saying they were a threat to its national security.

However, details over the new antimissile system’s architecture and deployment schedule have not been ironed out yet.