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NATO Chief: Road to NATO 'Wide Open' for Georgia


NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says the road to joining the alliance is "wide open" for Georgia despite Russian opposition.

De Hoop Scheffer spoke Tuesday in Tbilisi on his second and last day of a trip to the Georgian capital.

He earlier called on Russia to comply with a French-brokered peace plan, accusing Moscow of using "indiscriminate force" during last month's invasion of Georgia. He did not say if NATO plans to begin the membership process for Georgia at its December summit.

De Hoop Scheffer and his delegation of 26 NATO ambassadors also visited the battle-scarred Georgian city of Gori Tuesday. The city's population has more than doubled since it started sheltering Georgians who fled Russian forces in South Ossetia last month.

Meanwhile, officials from five United Nations humanitarian agencies begin a four day visit to South Ossetia Wednesday. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the officials will seek first-hand knowledge of the humanitarian and human rights situation. The officials also plan to visit Tbilisi and Moscow.

Russia sent thousands of troops into the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia last month after Georgia tried to retake the region by force.


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