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NATO chief says no compromise with Russia over Georgia

RIA Novosti

11:13 17/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday the Western military bloc was not prepared to compromise with Russia on Georgia.

When asked by journalists whether his talks with Russian leaders meant the alliance had changed its position on the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, Rasmussen said NATO was not ready to reach a compromise on issues of fundamental importance.

NATO froze ties with Russia following the brief armed conflict with the ex-Soviet Caucasus state and the recognition by Moscow of Georgia's breakaway regions, but relations have improved in recent months.

Rasmussen is on his first official visit to Moscow seeking greater Russian assistance for international operations in Afghanistan.

At meetings on Tuesday, Rasmussen and Russian officials acknowledged persisting differences between NATO and Russia, but said they should not affect their common interests.

Other points of contention include NATO's eastward expansion, with Russia being especially unnerved by the bloc's promises to eventually admit Georgia and Ukraine.

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