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FILE PHOTO: Georgia's President Giorgi Margvelashvili addresses soldiers during the oath-taking ceremony on Georgia's Independence Day in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili/File Photo(reuters_tickers)
TBILISI (Reuters) - The United States has continued to support Georgia in building more resilient military forces, training and equipping its army,
Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili said on Thursday.
He added that these issues would be "one of the main" topics discussed during U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the ex-Soviet country.
Margvelashvili also said the Georgian army will start two weeks of military exercises with the United States and other partner countries on Sunday, the day before Pence's visit to Tbilisi, to send an important message to Russia about their common values and political targets.
"The vice-president's presence here is definitely showing that this is not only about military exercises, but it is also showing unification with our values, with our foreign policy targets and showing a clear message that we are together," Margvelashvili told a news conference.
Russia defeated Georgia in a short war in 2008 over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, and Moscow continues to station troops there and to support another breakaway region, Abkhazia.
"This is an important message especially in the environment when (Russia's) training and exercises going on the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia)," Margvelashvili added.
Pence plans to visit Georgia as a part of his trip to Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro.
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze,; editing by Pritha Sarkar)