High level NATO talks aimed at showing support for Georgia in its recent conflict with Russia are taking place in Tblisi. The NATO delegation, headed by Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, will meet with Georgia’s President Mikhael Saakashvili.
The NATO chief says the organisation stands by its aim to admit both Georgia and fellow ex-soviet state Ukraine. The pledge has infuriated Russia, which sees Nato expansion a threat to its security.
Last month, Russia sent in troops after Georgian armed forces tried to retake South Ossetia. Moscow claims the move was to prevent Genocide in the breakaway regions. But, the west has accused Russia of using disproportionate force. Visiting the Abkhaz capital Sukhumi, Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov re-iterated Moscow’s decision to recognise Abkazia and South Ossetia.
“I think the treaty prepared between Russia and Abkhazia will the allow the free movement of both Abkhazians and Russians a lot more. There will be a transparent border for all Russians and Abkhazians similar to that enjoyed by members of the EU countries.’‘
In Brussels, the European Union has also given the go-ahead for some 200 observers to be sent to Georgia. The five day war between Moscow and Tbilisi killed thousands of people and displaced around 192,000 in Georgia.