NATO resumes ties with Russia

That "thud" you heard - Ronny Reagan rollin' in his grave

March 5, 2009 at 11:04 AM EST

BRUSSELS — The NATO alliance agreed on Thursday to resume formal ties with Russia suspended last year after Moscow's military thrust into Georgia, though it said differences still remained with Moscow.

Russia immediately welcomed the move which was agreed at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. “This decision is a step in the right direction,” Russia's RIA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

Lithuania had blocked quick agreement to resume co-operation through the NATO-Russia Council, the body that directs dialogue between the two sides on security issues, but then later dropped its objections.

NATO suspended this co-operation in protest at Russia's military thrust last August into Georgia, an aspiring member of the alliance.
“The ministers reached agreement to formally resume the NATO-Russia Council including at ministerial level ... as soon as possible after the NATO April summit,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

“Russia is a global player. Not talking to them is not an option,” he added.
But the military alliance said differences remained with Moscow and de Hoop Scheffer urged Russia to fully meet its commitments regarding Georgia.

NATO members are concerned about a build-up of Russia's military presence in breakaway Georgian regions and say this violates Georgian territorial integrity and goes against a French-brokered ceasefire deal.

“Let's not forget we have quite a number of areas where we have fundamental differences of opinion and where we think that Russia should really change its position,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attending her first NATO summit, pressed for a fresh start with Russia.

But she said the door to alliance membership must be kept open for ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine. Moscow strongly opposes their membership of the military alliance.

“We can and must find ways to work constructively with Russia where we share areas of common interest, including helping the people of Afghanistan,” said Ms. Clinton.

NATO had to find ways to “manage” differences with Russia while also standing up for its principles when security or other interests were at stake, she said.
Clinton is set to hold her first substantive talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday and agreement on resuming ties with NATO will help the atmosphere in that encounter.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that reviving formal NATO-Russia ties now was the way to deal directly with concerns.
The ministers also discussed Afghanistan and Ms. Clinton proposed an international conference for March 31 to map out future strategy to tackle the war in Afghanistan.

A U.S. official said the venue was still being sorted out but that Pakistan would also be invited to attend, signalling a trend to treat the war in Afghanistan as a regional problem.

“We must add resources to address the serious situation on the ground right now,” Ms. Clinton said, in a reference to appeals for more NATO forces to be sent to stabilize Afghanistan.

The United States, the biggest force-contributor in Afghanistan, is carrying out a review of its strategy. The results of that review are expected in the next few weeks, in time for the conference Clinton proposed.
Russia as we were told by our betters to believe. A 100 year retrospective.
1900-1917 Good guy
1917-1939 Bad guy
1939-1949 Good guy
1949-1989 Bad guy
1989-2000 Good guy
lone wolf
I wonder if flying Bears will still raise hairs....

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