NATO and Russia have relaunched formal cooperation on security threats after their first high-level talks since falling out over the Georgia war last year. The meeting on the Greek island of Corfu was aimed at mending ties torn by Russia’s short war in Georgia last summer.
The Italian Prime Minister said he had brought what he called a message of collaboration from the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Jaap de Hop Schaeffer NATO Secretary-General announced: “ I think I could quantify the spirit of the meeting as ‘open and constructive,’ which means no-one tried to paper over our differences in the meeting…on Georgia, for example. But we agreed….and that’s the very positive conclusion of the meeting…. not to let those disagreements bring the whole NATO / Russia Committee train to a halt.” Dialogue between NATO and Russia, suspended in August last year, has gradually resumed until today’s big leap forward. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia’s position was always different to that of NATO countries because of the Southern Caucasus issue. But Russia and NATO have now agreed on joint efforts against Afghan insurgents and other matters like nuclear proliferation. Peace groups, members of the communist party, and other leftist organisations opposed to NATO and EU membership marched though Central Corfu. But police kept them well away.