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Maneuvers undermining partnership and peace2009-04-21 20:10
As stated by Robert Wood, State Department Spokesman, on April 21, the US Department of State expressed concern over cancellation of the Russia-NATO meeting of senior military commanders.
Wood also added: "I don't have sufficient information on Russia's eventual reaction to NATO exercises in Georgia in order to comment on it but if this is true I regret it", - RIA Novosti reports.
Such a reaction from Washington was caused by Russia's NATO Envoy Dmitry Rogozin's yesterday's statement that in view of the alliance's decision to hold military maneuvers close to Russian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders in a complicated period for South Caucasus, the Russia-NATO meeting scheduled for May 7 might be cancelled. "NATO exercises in Georgia are nothing but a provocation", - Rogozin is quoted by Ekho Moskvy. - From both Russia's and Georgia's standpoint, from the point of view of peace such military games are openly provocative. And we will take certain steps if no reaction is offered to Russia's protest against the exercises".
Moscow is keeping its promise. It is not the fact of exercises but also NATO's rejection to defer to Russia's opinion. Last week Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that "in a situation of high tension in the Caucasus this decision looks shortsighted and not worthy of true partnership...such decisions are disappointing and by no means contribute to the resumption of full-fledged contacts between Russia and NATO". Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was explicit in his hope that "NATO member states when planning further interaction with Georgia within Partnership for Peace program will avoid steps that might again push the Georgian regime to a feeling of permissiveness and impunity". As early as on Friday Russia's Plenipotentiary to NATO sent an official letter to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the alliance's Secretary General calling for cancellation of the exercises.
And what is the result? NATO's response to Moscow is a dramatic astonishment: the decision on the exercises was taken a year ago! As if the August aggression of Georgia is not a force majeure requiring reconsideration of decisions adopted earlier. Furthermore NATO invited Russia to take part in the maneuvers. Russia naturally refused. And now that the resumption of cooperation with Moscow is on the brink of breakdown Washington sighs with regret. Are these sighs sincere?