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Nato resumes Russia military ties

Nato chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the meeting in Corfu
The Nato chief said fundamental issues remained over Georgia

Russia and Nato have agreed to resume co-operation on security issues, after nearly a year of difficult relations.

The deal came at a meeting in Greece of foreign ministers from the two sides.

Ties deteriorated sharply in 2008 after Russia's brief conflict with Georgia. Nato chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said differences over the issue remained.

But he said Nato and Russia would nonetheless resume co-operation on issues such as Afghanistan, drug trafficking and piracy.

"We have restarted our relations at a political level, we also agreed to restart the military-to-military contacts which had been frozen since last August," the Nato secretary-general told a news conference in Corfu.

Fundamental differences still remained on Georgia, he said, but the two sides agreed "not to let disagreements bring the whole train to a halt".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the agreement "to a certain extent a positive development".

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on relations with Moscow

But he said Nato had to accept Russia's recognition of the independence of Georgia's separatist regions.

"All have to accept the new realities and [that] the decisions taken by Russia after the conflict are irreversible," he said.

Russia and Georgia fought a short war in August 2008. Georgia tried to retake its breakaway region of South Ossetia by force after a series of lower-level clashes with Russian-backed rebels.

Russia launched a counter-attack and the Georgian troops were ejected from both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a second breakaway region, days later.

Moscow has backed both regions' declarations of independence.



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