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US VP Biden meets president of Georgia

(L-R) Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, on April 25, 2013
(L-R) Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and his wife Sandra Roelofs attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. US Vice President Joe Biden met Saaka

US Vice President Joe Biden met Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to discuss democratic and economic reforms in that Caucasus nation, the White House said.

Biden met Saakashvili at the Sedona Forum, an annual event organized by the McCain Institute at the Arizona State University in Sedona, Arizona, named after Republican US Senator John McCain.

Biden "encouraged Georgia's presidency, government, and parliament to work constructively together in the months ahead to maintain positive momentum on Georgia's path of progress," the White House said in a brief statement.

The US vice president "underscored the United States' strong and enduring commitment to Georgia and its people, and that we look forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come," the statement read.

Saakashvili is a strong US ally who hoped to bring his country into NATO and the European Union.

Although Saakashvili's party, which dominated Georgia for nine years politics, was beaten in October elections, he retains the presidency for another year.

Parliament is dominated by Prime Minister Bidzhina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition, which wants Saakashvili to accept proposed constitutional amendments curbing his powers.

The theme for the 2013 Sedona Forum, which began Friday and runs through Sunday, is on promoting freedom and democracy, according to the organizer's website.

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