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Russia waiting for NATO to explain its stance on Georgia

RIA Novosti

28/01/2009 18:41 MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia expects NATO to make clear the reasons for its position on Georgia before it begins developing intensive military cooperation with the alliance, the Russian envoy to NATO said on Wednesday.

Russia-NATO cooperation was frozen after Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August that began when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under central control. NATO called Russia's military response to the attack "disproportionate," and also condemned Moscow's subsequent decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway republic.

"After what happened in the Caucasus, after the alliance's unbridled support for Georgian leader [Mikheil] Saakashvili, any talk now of forms of intensive cooperation in the military sphere is out of the question. We would first like to hear NATO presenting, if not apologies, then at least explanations for its political stance regarding Georgia," Dmitry Rogozin told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

The interview was also posted on the official Russian Foreign Ministry website.

Despite the freeze in cooperation, Russia continued its work with NATO on a number of issues, including arms control and Afghanistan.

NATO foreign ministers agreed in early December to gradually restore contacts with Moscow. The Russian mission at NATO headquarters said on Monday that Russia's envoy to the alliance had resumed informal talks earlier that day with NATO ambassadors in Brussels.

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