Rasmussen Says NATO Is Not Ready for Compromise with Russia on Georgia

During his visit to Russia Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General has discussed a wide range of issues, including Georgia with Russian leadership.

In an interview with Moscow-based Echo Moskvy radio station on December 16, he said that difference on Georgia’s issue was “a significant part of our agenda” and “we are not freezing this issue.”

He, however, added that this difference should not lead to “paralyzing” NATO-Russian relations in other directions.

Rasmussen said that Russia had not fulfilled its commitments under ceasefire agreement and “we insistently call on Russia to meet its commitments.”

“We insistently demand full respect of Georgia’s sovereighty and territorial integrity. And we were calling for withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia. I think that all countries and each of them have the right to solve the issues of acceding to an alliance. It concerns Georgia, Ukraine and other countries,” he said, Civil Georgia reports.

It was also reported, then asked by journalists whether his talks with Russian leaders meant the alliance had changed its position on the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, Rasmussen said NATO was not ready to reach a compromise on issues of fundamental importance.

NATO froze ties with Russia following the brief armed conflict with the ex-Soviet Caucasus state and the recognition by Moscow of Georgia's breakaway regions, but relations have improved in recent months.

Rasmussen is on his first official visit to Moscow seeking greater Russian assistance for international operations in Afghanistan.

At meetings on Tuesday, Rasmussen and Russian officials acknowledged persisting differences between NATO and Russia, but said they should not affect their common interests, RIA Novosti reports.

News agencies also report, the NATO Chief has also commented on the security concept for Europe proposed by Dmitry Medvedev. Rasmussen said that Europe already had that concept; however, the new initiatives could be discussed within the frames of the OSCE, the organization that works on the security in Europe, Daily Georgian Times reports.

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