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NATO-Russian Contacts to Resume in Weeks

NATO says it will soon resume top-level contacts with Russia -- contacts that were severed five months ago over Russia's invasion of Georgia.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai announced the plan Monday. A short while later, NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told al-Jazeera television he will meet with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov at a Munich conference February 6.

The NATO announcement came as Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitri Rogozin, met informally in Brussels with NATO's 26 ambassadors. Officials say the meeting also focused on cooperation in developing new supply routes through Russia to Afghanistan.

The ambassador-level NATO-Russia Council, the chief forum for cooperation between Moscow and the alliance, was suspended in August when NATO condemned Russia's military conduct in Georgia as disproportionate.

NATO also condemned Russia's decision to recognize two Georgian breakaway territories, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent countries.

But NATO ministers agreed last month to seek a gradual resumption of contacts with Russia. However, alliance officials have also said that resuming full contacts will require further consultations with NATO member-countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters