Government posts in Georgia show pro-West course

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — The billionaire whose opposition coalition won Georgia's parliamentary election has chosen two former diplomats with pro-Western views to take key positions in the government when he becomes prime minister this month.

Bidzina Ivanishvili's choices reinforce his pledge to maintain Georgia's close ties with the U.S. and work toward closer integration with the Europe.

The pro-Western course was set by President Mikhail Saakashvili, who remains president for another year but lost the power to form the government when his party was defeated in a parliamentary election a week ago.

Among the members of the next government announced Monday are Maia Panjikidze, a former ambassador to Germany and the Netherlands, who will become foreign minister, and Irakly Alasania, a former ambassador to the U.N., who will take the post of defense minister.

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