Georgia, US Open Military Exercises

VAZIANI, Georgia (AP) -- Troops in the former Soviet republic of Georgia are conducting military exercises with NATO countries including the United States at an airbase near the capital, Tbilisi.

The two-week-long exercises, which began Wednesday at the Vaziani base, are to focus on peacekeeping and support activities. About 220 U.S. troops are taking part, while platoon-level contingents from Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria are also present.

Georgia has strongly focused on closer integration with the West and has been a member of the Partnership for Peace program with NATO since 1994.