Georgia-NATO co-operation "does not exclude, but rather imply close co-operation with Russia, which also aspires to integrate with NATO," Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told national radio Monday.
According to him, NATO understands perfectly well the role of Russia in Eurasia and in the Caucasus. But at the same time, Shevardnadze believes, the conflicts and the Russian military bases will not be a hindrance to joining NATO.
"NATO Secretary General George Robertson knows that the conflicts must be settled, and Russian military bases withdrawn, according to Istanbul peace agreements," the president said.
According to Shevardnadze, "the individual programme of Georgia-NATO co-operation will be refined this week." He said the document welcomes Ukraine's joining NATO. Shevardnadze believes Kiev has all conditions to become a NATO member-state.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23