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Coast Guard Cutter Delivers Aid to Georgia

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2008 – The Coast Guard Cutter Dallas has finished off-loading humanitarian relief supplies in the Georgian city of Batumi and has left port, a Defense Department official said here today.

Since Russia invaded Georgia on Aug. 9, all of the U.S. aid that has gone to the nation has been humanitarian relief, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

Defense officials said that Russia still has troops in Georgia and is not living up to the terms of a cease-fire agreement.

The Dallas unloaded 34 short tons of aid at the port, raising the U.S. total to 947 short tons of supplies. To date, 53 air sorties also have been flown to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia.

Whitman said the USS Mount Whitney is the next American ship that will deliver supplies to Georgia. The ship will swing by the Greek island of Crete to pick up supplies at Souda Bay before arriving at a Black Sea port next week.

The Defense Department so far has spent $7.2 million on airlift and humanitarian supplies. The U.S. government total so far has been $22 million in aid.

“The United States is going to be there for Georgia for the long term,” Whitman said.

As with any mission, the nature of the mission to Georgia will change, Whitman said. “Not just the United States, but [also] the international community is going to be looking at reconstruction missions, economic stimulation, security needs -- all those types of things.”

Supplying immediate needs to prevent civilian suffering will remain the focus of U.S. policy in the Caucasus nation for now, Whitman said.

“But over time, we will be looking at the full range of ways in which the United States will be able to support Georgia in the future,” he said.

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