US 'will attack' if Russia hits Georgia

THE US warned last night that its military would step in if Russia launches another attack on Georgia once the country joins Nato.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates promised that America would “stand by their commitments” to the North Atlantic Treaty.

Mr Gates said: “I have been a very strong proponent of the view that Nato is a military alliance — not a talk shop.”

Article Five of the Treaty states an armed attack against a Nato country is an attack against them all.

Russia invaded Georgia last month to back separatists in the breakaway South Ossetia region.

Mr Gates said: “Article Five means what it says — so there is a commitment to go to the assistance of our allies if they are challenged.”

Georgia was denied a Nato Membership Action Plan in April but will be allowed to join once it meets entry requirements.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched a stinging attack on Russia last night.

Ms Rice warned the Kremlin could be “on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance”.

She said: “The attack on Georgia has crystallised the course that Russia’s leaders are taking.”

But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed yesterday that there was “every opportunity to develop a constructive long-term dialogue” with the US.

[Source: The Sun, London, UK, 19Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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