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19 Aug, 2008 15:02

Russian-NATO relations to cool

NATO’s foreign ministers have been meeting in Brussels to review their relations with Moscow. The military alliance’s Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, says future relations between the sides depends on Russia pulling its troops out of Georgia.

“There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances and the future of our relations will depend on the concrete actions Russia will take to honour the words of President Medvedev to abide by the six-point peace plan which is not happening at the moment as we speak,” Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said should NATO continue this biased approach to the situation, Russia in turn will have to reconsider its relations with NATO. He insists there will not be a return to the Cold War, but warns that the format for co-operation between Russia and NATO will definitely change.

“We've heard from NATO headquarters, from the NATO Secretary-General and our American interlocutors, we cannot say that everything will remain as before. The scope and the quality of our co-operation will be substantionally revised, as well as the time-table of political consultations and meetings. However, I would like to say the Cold War has been called off, it won't take place”.

Will Georgia join NATO?

Meanwhile, NATO member Turkey says there is no consensus within the alliance on Georgian membership. Suat Kiniklioglu, from Turkey’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, says Tbilisi’s breakaway republics are the main obstacle.

“Without a solution to the Abkhazian and South Ossetian problem, the inclusion of Georgia into NATO could cause some problems. But at the same time we do not want instability on our Northern borders. We followed this issue closely and we followed the trends among the European members of the alliance. As you know, France and Germany have some reservations about Georgian membership. If there's consensus about including Georgia into NATO I think Turkey will follow, too”.

Earlier Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, called off a meeting of the Russia-NATO council that was due to follow the emergency summit.