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NATO to Provide Post-Conflict Assistance to Georgia

NATO said it would help Georgia in:
 Re-establishing air traffic system;
 Cyber defense;
 Assessing state of the armed forces;
 Assessing damage of civilian infrastructure;

NATO foreign ministers decided at an emergency session in Brussels on August 19 to set up a NATO-Georgia commission and told Russia there would be “no business as usual.”

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the NATO Secretary General, said at a news conference after the session that NATO-Russia Council would not be convened, if Russia continued “occupying” Georgian territories.

“Russian forces are occupying greater part of Georgia… they are occupying part of a sovereign nation,” he said.

The joint statement of NATO foreign ministers, released after the emergency meeting, however, does not mention word like “occupation.” It instead says that NATO was “concerned.”

“We remain concerned by Russia’s actions during this crisis and remind Russia of its responsibility for maintaining security and order in the areas where it exercises control, especially in light of continuing reports of Russia’s deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure,” the statement reads. “Russian military action has been disproportionate and inconsistent with its peacekeeping role.”

NATO has also called on Russia to fulfill its commitment under the six-point ceasefire accord and start pulling out its forces from Georgia. Scheffer said that he did “not see signals of that happening at the moment.”

Scheffer said that NATO’s decision to suspend NRC did no way mean that NATO was abandoning the NRC. “We certainly have not the intention to close all doors. It’s not happening at the moment,” he said.

He said that NATO had agreed to implement some of the measures in respect of Georgia, including the one of setting up a joint commission to coordinate and oversee NATO’s ongoing and planned cooperation projects with Georgia. Scheffer said that it would be a similar mechanism which was set up with Ukraine in 1997, but no such structure was in place with Georgia so far.

Concrete assistance measures NATO has decided to launch after the armed conflict with Russia involves sending of 15 experts in civil emergency planning to Georgia to help the authorities assess the damage of the civil infrastructure.

Scheffer said that NATO will also help to assess current state of Georgia’s Ministry of Defense and the armed forces.

He also said that NATO would help Georgia in re-establishment of air traffic system, as well as in the issues related with cyber defense.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said at a news conference in Moscow after the NATO foreign ministerial summit, that the alliance had once again showed “anti-Russian” stance and had expressed support towards “aggressive regime.”

“It seems to me that the [NATO] Membership Action Plan and the line of Georgia’s involvement into NATO are based not on the fact that Tbilisi complies with the NATO criteria, but is dictated exclusively by the aspirations which cannot be called otherwise than anti-Russian and directed towards support of the aggressive regime,” Lavrov said.

He also said that he agreed with Scheffer that there would be no business as usual. “That’s right; we said about it a week ago when without waiting for the meeting at the foreign ministers level, the NATO representatives made absolutely biased assessments,” Lavrov added.

The western media sources were reported on August 19, that there was no unanimous position among the allies with some European states against taking any tough position against Russia. CNN International reported that “some European leaders” were “angry” with the President Saakashvili’s “reckless actions” and also with the United States for its “mismanagement” of Georgia.


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