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6 Jun, 2008 17:40

Medvedev warns Georgia and Ukraine against joining NATO

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that Georgia and Ukraine's accession to NATO could lead to more tensions. He said that if Ukraine did sign up to the alliance it would break existing agreements it has with R

Medvedev told Yushchenko that Ukraine’s drive to join NATO and its stance on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol raised security threats for Russia.

Ukraine will also pay double for Russian gas from next year. The reason for the move is the position of Central Asian gas producers. Russia buys Asian gas and resells it to European countries, including Ukraine. Earlier Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan announced they will raise the price for their gas to market levels.

Yushchenko commented that he understood the reasons for the move but wanted Ukraine to take part in Russia’s negotiations with the Central Asian countries.

Despite all the difficulties the two leaders seemed determined to overcome them and try to work out joint policy.

The Ukrainian President is one of the many leaders attending to the Economic Forum.

There are no unmanageable issues, believes Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili. During his chat with Dmitry Medvedev, Saakashvili stressed that he appreciated the opportunity to discuss numerous problems between the countries.

Medvedev voiced Moscow’s concerns that Georgia may be pursuing NATO membership as a way to settle its frozen conflicts with breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Saakashvili assured it wasn’t the case.

The Russian President also called on Tbilisi’s sticking to bilateral agreements with its unruly republics and rebuilding mutual trust between conflicting parties, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after the meeting.

The issue of Georgian drones and the incident when one of them was downed over Abkhazia's territory was not discussed by the two leaders, Lavrov added, answering a journalist’s question.

Moldova’s President Vladimir Voronin brought some good news for Medvedev and his home city of St Petersburg. Moldova’s police had found two pieces of art stolen from the Hermitage back in 2006. Now the Moldova side is ready to return the pictures back to St Petersburg.

Medvedev also had a conversation with Turkmen’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. The two leaders mulled over the recent developments in Russia and also discussed preparations for Medvedev’s visit to the Turkmen capital, Ashkhabad, early in July.

Azerbaidjan will also host a trip by Medvedev in July. The gas exporting country has ‘strong partnership relations’ with Russia as President Aliev stressed today and both men's main task will be to preserve them.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov suggested merging two regional organisations that Russia and Uzbekistan are members of. The Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Community have common goals and challenges and together can become a strong alliance of Caucasian and Central Asian nations.

While meeting the Armenian President Serg Sarkisyan, Dmitry Medvedev invited him to pay an official visit to Russia in coming months, which the visiting leader accepted. Sarkisyan stressed Armenia’s good relations with Russia and pledged to develop them further.

Medvedev will meet his Kirgiz and Tajik counterparts on Saturday.

Over the next three days delegates at the Economic Forum are expected to discuss a wide range of issues including climate change, the integration of economies, and will try to develop a model for co-ordinating the national interests of consumers and producers.

Like in previous years, the first day of the forum focuses on international issues, while the second – on prospects for Russia's economic development.

According to Russia’s Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, 13,000 policemen and servicemen of the Interior Troops enforce security at the forum.