Biden Promises to Support Georgia

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has pledged support for Georgia as he met its president Mikheil Saakashvili a year after the ex-Soviet republic's war with Russia.

"The reason I am here... is to show you that we stand with you," Biden said at the start of the meeting, AFP reports.

He told the BBC the US backed the territorial integrity of Georgia, following its 2008 war with Russia.

But that did not mean the US offered a physical security guarantee, he said.

Georgia says it plans to ask Mr Biden for US help to improve patrols on the borders of its two disputed regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Speaking to the BBC's Washington correspondent Jonathan Beale, Mr Biden said the US could consider sending US monitors to the region if Georgia made a request, BBC News reports.

Biden described U.S. support as "an unequivocal, clear message to all who will listen and some who do not want to" - an apparent reference to Russia, Voice of America reports.

President Mikhail Saakashvili also plans to urge Biden at a meeting in his presidential offices to push for NATO membership for Georgia, despite skepticism among some other members of the Western military alliance.

The White House has so far avoided making any public commitment on arms or observers, although it says it stands behind Georgia's application for NATO membership despite determined opposition from Russia, The Associated Press reports.