Accessibility links

NATO Warns Russia to Adhere to Agreement, Remove Troops From Georgia


NATO foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels warn - no business as usual with Russia unless Moscow immediately withdraws its troops from Georgia and adheres to the peace plan it signed. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from London the alliance also said it would deepen its relationship with Georgia.

The NATO meeting was designed as a show of unity among alliance members - support for Georgia and condemnation for Russia's military action.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said ministers sent a clear message.

"Which is most importantly support for Georgia's democracy, secondly a very strong message that the Russian president ought to keep his word and third, a very clear statement of principle from this alliance that a new line in Europe where Russia somehow asserts that there are those who cannot opt for a transatlantic future is unacceptable," she said.

NATO ministers announced humanitarian and political support for Georgia, including the establishment of a NATO-Georgia commission to deepen the relationship and help pave the way for Georgia's eventual entry into the NATO alliance.

Russia has been vehemently opposed to the increasing number of former Soviet satellites and east block countries opting to join the western alliance.

NATO has repeatedly called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from Georgian territory as mandated by the cease-fire plan that both Russia and Georgia have signed.

NATO Secretary-General Japp de Hoop Scheffer said until Russia complies, its relationship with the alliance would suffer.

"There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances and the future of our relations will depend on the concrete actions Russia will take to honor the words of President Medvedev to honor the six-point peace plan, which is not happening at the moment," he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the NATO meeting, Finland's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, who is also chairman of the broader Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the OSCE is preparing to send unarmed monitors to Georgia.

"It means that we're sending immediately 20 political and military observers who are unarmed, who are basically there to observe the cease-fire and in that sense I would say that it's a crucial step in us stabilizing the whole region," said Stubb.

Stubb said both Russia and Georgia have now agreed to the monitors and he said the OSCE is looking to send in up to 100 monitors in the days to come. Stubb said this will allow the organization to better monitor withdrawal progress on the ground.

Despite their strong condemnation of Russia for its military actions, NATO ministers say they want to keep the door to dialogue with Moscow open.

XS
SM
MD
LG