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Russia-NATO Council meeting penciled for December 4

RIA Novosti

12:33 23/10/2009 BRUSSELS, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The first formal Russia-NATO Council ministerial meeting since the military conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 may be held in early December, Russia's envoy to NATO said on Friday.

During an informal ministerial meeting in Greece in June, Russia and NATO agreed to renew cooperation on security issues, which was frozen after Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war over the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia, after which Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic.

"The preferred time of the meeting is December 4," Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti, adding that the date still needs to be confirmed by the Western military alliance.

Rogozin also said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's visit to Moscow on December 15-17 was "optimal."

Rasmussen earlier proposed Russia-NATO discussions to analyze security challenges of the 21st century, considering common security interests and possible threats.

He has also expressed readiness to intensify Russia-NATO cooperation on Afghanistan and to strengthen military collaboration.

Relations have also been strained by Russia's resistance to Georgia and Ukraine's bids to join NATO.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reiterated on Tuesday that "Russia is ready to harmonize relations with the United States and other Western partners, including constructive cooperation with NATO in resolving common tasks."

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