Moscow Slams NATO Visit to Georgia

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it deemed the visit by the NATO North Atlantic Council to Georgia “against the background of the current situation as untimely, which does not correspond to the interests of stabilization in the region.”

It also said that the decisions made during the visit “confirmed that ‘Cold War’ reflexes of the friend and foe kind have been triggered in NATO.” Georgia and NATO signed a framework agreement on setting up a NATO-Georgia Commission in Tbilisi on September 15.

“Instead of drawing serious conclusions about the failed attempt by Saakashvili to forcefully resolve the many-year-old conflict, NATO has again demonstrated its support towards his [President Saakashvili’s] campaign of disinformation, and has promised to rebuild the military infrastructure of this country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Steps undertaken towards increasing the level of relations between the Alliance and Georgia can not be seen by us as anything other than an encouragement of Tbilisi to engage in new adventures. We remember very well how we were assured that giving Georgia so-called ‘Intensified Dialogue’ would have allowed [NATO] ‘to more effectively’ restrain Saakashvili from irresponsible actions. Where this has led is already well-known by everyone.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for traveling to the town of Gori on September 16, where he visited civilian and military sites damaged in Russian air strikes.

“The anti-Russian nature of this action is clear,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “It is a pity that [Schaffer’s] schedule did not include a trip to Tskhinvali in order to obtain a more objective picture of the events of early August. There [in Tskhinvali] he could have seen the tragic consequences of the nighttime shelling of civilians by the Georgian army.”

[Source: Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 17Sep08]

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