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Georgia’s new PM to visit Brussels first

TBILISI: Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is to make his first foreign trip as premier to Brussels where he will meet the head of NATO, the ex-Soviet state’s foreign ministry said yesterday.
Ivanishvili, whose coalition defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili’s long dominant ruling party at parliamentary polls last month, had previously announced that he would visit Georgia’s main international ally Washington first.
“From Nov. 12 to 14, the prime minister will be visiting Brussels. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s meeting with the NATO secretary general is planned on Nov. 14,” Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told journalists.
Ivanishvili has vowed to maintain Saakashvili’s pro-Western foreign policy and continue Georgia’s bid to join NATO and ultimately the European Union.
But he has also promised to improve relations with arch foe Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in 2008 and strongly opposes Tbilisi’s NATO ambitions.