Vice President Joe Biden tells Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili that he supports the former Soviet republic's desire to join NATO. Georgia's aspirations to join the Western alliance are a sore point with Russia.

The White House says Biden spoke to Garibashvilli Friday. The two leaders also discussed tensions in Ukraine between the Kiev government and Russian-backed rebels.

The United States has been offering new assistance to former Soviet nations to draw them closer to Europe. The U.S. has also pledged to help boost the military capacity of non-NATO countries near Russia in the aftermath of Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The White House says Biden and Garibashvilli agreed that strengthening the rule of law in Georgia will help attract foreign investment.

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