Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moscow Pulls Out of NATO-Russia Military Meet

Russia will pull out of a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council chiefs of staff to protest what it described as "provocative" war games planned by the 28-member alliance in Georgia next month, reports say. Recently, Russian officials including President Dmitry Medvedev have harshly criticized the planned exercises.

Russia's NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin said if there were no responses to a Russian complaint about the exercises, Moscow would take certain measures.

"I can reveal one of them now, the meeting of the commanders of the general staffs of Russia and NATO, planned for May 7, will not take place," Rogozin said. He said from Russia's point of view, and from Georgia's point of view, and from the viewpoint of world affairs, such war games are clearly provocative in nature.

However, the envoy did not say whether Moscow would scuttle a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council--the highest-level body linking Russia and the alliance--expected to take place in May or June.

NATO-Russia Council deliberations were suspended last year after the brief Georgia-Russia war, but the two sides have tried to resume dialogue. A council meeting at the ambassador level is set for April 29.

Russia and Georgia have been at loggerheads after fighting a brief war in August, and Moscow has been extremely wary of any cooperation between NATO and the pro-Western government in Tbilisi.

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