NATO has said that it is “seriously considering” the implications of Russia’s actions in Georgia and that regular contacts were impossible until Russian troops had been fully withdrawn.
After emergency talks in Brussels on the South Ossetia conflict NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters that the crisis had changed the dynamic of NATO-Russia relations.
“There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances; the future of our relations will depend on the concrete actions Russia will take to honour the words of President Medvedev to abide by the six-point peace plan he signed together with the President of Georgia, which is not happening at the moment, which is not happening as we speak.”
At a news conference a short time later, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed that Washington does not want to see Moscow out in the cold: “The United States doesn’t seek to isolate Russia. The behaviour of Russia in this most recent crisis is isolating Russia from the principles of cooperation among nations of the communities of states when you start invading small neighbours.”
Separately, they agreed to set up a new forum known as the NATO-Georgia Commission to strengthen ties with Tbilisi and a NATO special envoy will travel to Georgia soon to evoke that.
NATO said the commission would function along similar lines to an 11-year-old arrangement with Ukraine but would not prejudge Georgia’s prospects of becoming a member of NATO.
Moscow is strongly opposed to countries on its borders joining what it regards as a hostile military alliance.
NATO to Russia: no business as usual