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12 Aug, 2008 13:49

U.S. blocks Russia-NATO Council meeting

NATO has hailed Russia's decision to halt its military operation in South Ossetia as good news. But Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says Georgia's actions in South Ossetia will not affect its chances of joining the military alliance. However, the U.S. has blocked a

Russia's Foreign Ministry says by doing it Washington is justifying what Moscow calls ‘Georgia's criminal action’.

Andrey Nesterenko, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “The main problem, I believe, is lack of will to understand the real situation in South Ossetia which is the result of the aggressive actions from Tbilisi, no will to listen to the other side.”

Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said he doesn’t understand why NATO is refusing to hold direct talks in the Russia-NATO Council framework.

“We're told that it's a technical problem. The U.S. delegation failed to show up this morning at NATO headquarters which resulted in the Russia-NATO Council not going ahead. ‘NATO permanent representatives needed more time to figure out what happened’ – this is very odd because NATO permanent representatives had enough time to discuss this problem here today during the Council session.

They had enough time to invite the Georgian ambassador and listen to his propaganda. But they weren't ready to meet with their Russian partner, to hear the questions I have for our American colleagues about their share of the responsibility for the preparation of the bloodbath in South Ossetia. This is unacceptable”.

Rogozin said he insists that the partners ‘stop avoiding serious, adult political conversation’ on this topic.

“What happened in South Ossetia was a tragedy. And NATO, which is responsible for international security, should not hide behind the backs of other organisations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that the Russia-NATO Council meeting will be held very soon, but it should be thoroughly prepared.