US to support Georgian military

MOSCOW: The United States will continue to support and train Georgia's military despite Russian objections, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview Wednesday.

"Georgia is providing troops in Afghanistan and we are training troops to be able to go to Afghanistan," Clinton told the Echo of Moscow radio.

"We will help the Georgian people to feel like they can protect themselves," she added, without giving further details.

Despite a thaw in Russian-US relations, Clinton admitted that Georgia was a policy area on which Washington and Moscow did not see eye-to-eye.

But Clinton added that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had not raised Russian objections to United States' support for the Georgian army in their talks on Tuesday.

"But we are also making it very clear that we expect both Georgians, South Ossetians and Abkhazians to avoid provocations and to deal with whatever problems they have via diplomatic meetings," Clinton told the radio.

Ties between the two former Cold War foes were badly strained by Russia's war with US-ally Georgia last August and Russia's subsequent recognition of the Georgian rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent.

The United States has spent tens of millions of dollars on military aid for the Georgian army over the last years. The aid inlcudes support and training but it is unclear to what extent these funds have also been spent on weaponry.