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Biden Lauds Georgian Push for Western Reforms

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, April 26, 2016.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met Tuesday with Georgia's visiting Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the White House, where he pledged U.S. backing for Georgia's ongoing political and economic reforms and continued support for Georgian security.

A White House statement said Biden also "reaffirmed U.S. support for continued progress toward Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration."

Ahead of the meeting, Kvirikashvili told the Associated Press that his government will later this year hold what he called "the freest and fairest elections in the recent history of Georgia."

Kvirikashvili's Dream Party is expected to face off against supporters of former president Mikhail Saakashvili, whose party lost parliamentary elections in 2012. Saakashvili was barred by law from seeking a third term.

Kvirikashvili said his government continues efforts to restore economic and political ties with neighboring Russia, in the aftermath of a disastrous five-day war in 2008 that saw Georgia's military decimated and two Russian-speaking breakaway regions declare their independence from Tbilisi.