NATO special session yields frigid Russian ties

  • 2008-08-20
  • In cooperation with BNS

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RIGA- Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins took part in aspecial session of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. The alliance discussed the currentsituation in Georgia, andexchanged opinions regarding the assessment of further relations between NATOand Russia,and also on future co-operation between NATO and Georgia.

During the meeting, NATO foreign ministers were unanimous that the solution tothe conflict in Georgia mustbe based on full respect for the principles of Georgia's independence, sovereigntyand territorial integrity recognized by international law and UN SecurityCouncil resolutions.

The ministers agreed to task the North Atlantic Council in Permanent Session
to develop with Georgia aNATO-Georgia Commission, which would supervise the
process set in hand at Bucharest in relation to Georgia'sintegration into the Transatlantic Alliance, including the measures of supportagreed by the ministers at the meeting.

In the concluding statement, the foreign ministers call upon Russia to take immediate action to withdraw itstroops from the territory of Georgia under the six-principle agreement signed byPresident Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgiaand President Dmitrij Medvedev of Russia.

One of the key issues of debate at the meeting was the implications of Russia's actions for the future relationship ofNATO and Russia. The ministers were in agreement that the relations between NATO and Russia must berevised. "We have determined that we cannot continue with business as usual. We call on Moscowto demonstrate - both in word and deed - its continued commitment to theprinciples upon which we agreed to base our relationship," declared theforeign ministers of all NATO member countries.

Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins has pointed out that the concluding statementsends a strong signal to Russiaand reaffirms intensive NATO support for Georgia. Mr Riekstins emphasizedthat the military conflict has not changed the decision taken in Bucharest with regard to Georgia's transatlanticintegration.

Norwayannounced today that Moscowhad informed them that they were planning to stop all dealing with NATO andwith alliance states, although Russian ambassador to NATO has down-played themessage saying it is a temporary decision.