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Russia, NATO resume informal talks in Brussels

RIA Novosti

26/01/2009 15:01 BRUSSELS, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's envoy to NATO resumed informal talks on Monday with NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the Russian mission at NATO headquarters said.

The meeting, which was agreed on December 19 during talks between Dmitry Rogozin and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, could pave the way for the resumption of full-fledged cooperation between Russia and the military alliance.

"We have achieved the level of political contacts, and their frequency will depend on NATO's readiness to realize the mistakes, made during the tragedy in the Caucasus," Rogozin earlier said.

Relations between NATO and Russia sunk to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War after Moscow and Tbilisi fought a brief military conflict over Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

Two weeks after the end of hostilities Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway province, as independent states. NATO called Russia's military response to Georgia's attack on South Ossetia "disproportionate" and condemned Moscow's decision to recognize the former Georgian republics.

In response to NATO's decision to halt cooperation, Russia put on hold a number of programs, including the Partnership for Peace program, a high-ranking visit to Moscow, some joint naval training and NATO visits to Russian ports.

However Russia continued its work with NATO on arms control, cooperation in airspace, and the war in Afghanistan.

NATO foreign ministers agreed in early December at a meeting in Brussels to gradually restore contacts with Moscow.

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