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Russia-NATO meeting on Corfu2009-06-29 16:19
Russia-NATO Council ministerial meeting took place on June 27 on Corfu Island, Greece. In spite of the differences over South Caucasus the parties decided to resume full-fledged partnership including military cooperation.
The long-expected session of Russia-NATO Council on the level of ministers that was held last weekend was quite fruitful: not much of a sensation but on a positive note.
"Everyone must acknowledge the new reality, - RIA Novosti quotes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. - The decisions we took after the war Tbilisi unleashed are irrevocable and they must be considered in practical matters". According to him most Russian partners that are NATO members express full understanding of what happened in August 2008, that it is irreversible; but on a multilateral level what is mechanically pronounced is the position coordinated somewhere.
"It will take us time to focus on real-life tasks crucial for stability and normal life of people in Transcaucasia, not phantom geopolitical projects; - Lavrov said emphasizing his stand on extension of the UN and OSCE missions in the region with the Russian side having ready-made proposals on the issue.
It looks like Russia's partners from the North Atlantic Alliance accepted Russia's position. Many began to realize that unconditional support for Tbilisi would not be advantageous dealing with Moscow. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the meeting that the differences that emerged after August 2008 should not impede political interaction. "I consider the meeting as constructive in spite of the differences over a number of issues - on Georgia for instance, - Scheffer remarked. - We must resume military contacts suspended after last August".
According to the Secretary General the list of spheres to cooperate in is very long. This is stabilization in Afghanistan, struggle against terrorism, piracy, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and drug traffic. "As for the problem of Georgia's territorial integrity it remains unsolved", - Scheffer admitted. - I hope we will be able to pursue discussions but I do not expect us to be able to solve this problem in the nearest future. Nevertheless I don't think this issue is a sticking point".