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U.S. warship visits Black Sea port in Georgia

02.04.2009 Source: en.rian.ru

A U.S. missile frigate arrived in Georgia on Tuesday for an official visit that will include exercises with the Georgian navy and a number of cultural events, the Novosti-Georgia news agency said.

The USS Klakring (FFG 42) frigate entered the Black Sea on March 20 and earlier paid a 5-day visit to the port of Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea, where it was greeted by protests from local pro-Russia supporters.

During the visit to the port of Batumi, which will last until April 3, the frigate's crew of about 220 will participate in joint training sessions with Georgian coast guard personnel.

Georgia, which is actively seeking NATO membership, signed in January a strategic partnership treaty with the United States, which has long provided economic and military support for Tbilisi, including training its troops.

President Mikheil Saakashvili pledged on Tuesday to build new and stronger armed forces in the light of Georgia's recent military conflict with Russia, expressing the hope that Washington would provide stronger support to Tbilisi in developing its military.

The USS Klakring is an Oliver Perry-class frigate equipped with a 76-mm naval gun, torpedo tubes, a Phalanx point-defense system, as well as two SH-60 Seahawk multi-purpose helicopters.

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