U.S. to take control of Georgian ports: Saakashvili

A Georgian navy ship burns in the Black Sea port of Poti August 13, 2008. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

TBILISI (Reuters) - President George W. Bush’s pledge to send aid to Georgia means that the U.S. military will take control of the ex-Soviet state’s ports and airports, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Wednesday.

“You have heard the statement by the U.S. president that the United States is starting a military-humanitarian operation in Georgia,” Saakashvili said in a television address.

“It means that Georgian ports and airports will be taken under the control of the U.S. defense ministry in order to conduct humanitarian and other missions. This is a very important statement for easing tension.”

Reporting by Margarita Antidze, writing by Ron Popeski