After significant public backlash, officials from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia denied a report on Tuesday that the country offered to host a center where the U.S. military could train Syrian rebels.
The offer, first reported by Foreign Policy, was made by Georgian officials to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to the country’s capital of Tbilisi earlier this month, according to both U.S. and Georgian government officials. The Pentagon was considering the offer, however, after it became public on Tuesday and raised alarm bells about potential security issues for the small Caucasian nation, Georgian officials began to downplay, or in some cases, deny they ever offered.
“I categorically rule out any military participation or training base in Georgia. We have not discussed it and our American partners know it,” Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze reportedly told reporters in New York. Georgia’s State Security and Crisis Management Council, an interagency body, stated that it was “not true” that the nation was planning on operating such a training camp, which could potentially put it in the crosshairs of the Islamic State and other militant groups. […]