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Britain Urges Russia Not to Start New Cold War


On a trip to Ukraine, Georgia was the main talking point as Britain's Foreign Secretary met with President Yushchenko and others. David Miliband's visit came just a day after Russia's president recognized the independence of Georgia's two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. He also urged Russia not to start a new Cold War. For VOA, Tom Rivers reports from London.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband rejected Moscow's recognition of the two Russian-leaning regions of Georgia and he called for an international coalition to counter what he called Russian aggression.

Miliband said the response by the European Union and NATO should be hard-headed engagement.

He said that means, in practical terms, that building a coalition of nations that denounce the Russian actions. He also said it means rebalancing the energy relationship with Russia and to defend the rules of international institutions.

Later at the Kiev news conference, the Foreign Secretary urged Moscow to change its course in Georgia.

"We have talked a lot today about Russia," he said. "We are united in our view that her actions over the last two weeks have been damaging not just to international stability but also to the respect with which Russia and the trust that Russia holds around the world."

Miliband said he and his Ukrainian colleagues agreed that Russia's action in the two Georgian breakaway regions is an attempt by Moscow to redraw the map of the area, and he said it represents a moment of real significance.

"We both want to defend international rules that respect the sovereignty, the integrity and the democracy of nation states," said Miliband.

Miliband once again defended the use of diplomacy to resolve the situation, as he rejected calls for Moscow to be removed from the so-called Group of Eight industrialized states. But he did suggest that the European Union and NATO should now urgently review relations with Moscow.