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Russian envoy accuses Canada of blocking Russia-NATO accords

RIA Novosti

16:53 01/12/2009 BRUSSELS, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Canada has blocked the adoption of all documents to be considered at an upcoming Russia-NATO meeting, the Russian envoy to NATO said on Tuesday.

"Representatives of the Canadian delegation blocked today the adoption of all documents prepared for the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council," Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with Vesti television.

The meeting of the Russia-NATO Council's foreign ministers has been scheduled for December 4 in Brussels.

The upcoming session, the first official talks to be held since the August 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia, is aimed at drafting a "roadmap" for improving relations between Russia and the Western military alliance.

Rogozin said there were factions in NATO that still regard Russia as a "Cold War" rival and oppose any "reset" of relations.

"Feeling the need for assistance from Russia, they [these factions] nevertheless refuse to discuss issues that are vital to Russia's national interest, primarily, improving European security and the creation of a more balanced situation globally and on the European continent," the Russian diplomat said.

He added that the attitude of several NATO members has hampered concrete steps toward the improvement of Russia-NATO relations, as all decision-making processes in the alliance are based on consensus, and even a single member can block progress in dialogue with Moscow.

Rogozin urged NATO partners to return to the negotiating table and "start doing business rather than continue getting caught up in bureaucratic rhetoric."

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 in August over the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia, after which Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic.

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

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

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