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NATO insists Russia ties depend on Georgia plan compliance

by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Aug 25, 2008
NATO insisted Monday that its ties with Russia hinge on Moscow's compliance with a Georgian peace plan, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned of a possible break in relations.

"Our relationship will be judged by the Russian compliance with the peace plan," said Carmen Romero, spokeswoman for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"We will continue to assess regularly the status of the relationship, to see if the conditions are met," she said.

"NATO wants to keep open the communication channels with Russia. Nobody in NATO wants to shut the door to Russia but under the present circumstances we cannot have business as usual," she added.

According to Russian new agency RIA Novosti, Medvedev said Monday: "We will take any decision including up to a complete break in relations" if NATO countries decide to suspend cooperation with Russia.

He said that Moscow's relations with NATO had become "complicated" over the conflict in Georgia, where Moscow sent troops this month in response to a Georgian offensive to retake a separatist region.

NATO last week suspended meetings of the NATO-Russia cooperation council to press demands that Moscow pull its forces out of Georgia and has called for the troops to return to positions they held before the conflict in South Ossetia.

Russia made a partial withdrawal on Friday but troops remain in western Georgia as part of what Moscow describes as a "peacekeeping force".

Moscow, for its part, said last week that it was halting military cooperation with the world's biggest military alliance.

Romero was unable to say whether Russia would now pull out of a transit deal signed with NATO in April to allow "non-lethal equipment for the NATO efforts in Afghanistan" to travel by land routes through Russia and Central Asia.

"This is a very important piece of cooperation and at this stage I cannot tell you if this will be affected or not," she said.

She said the deal, which would provide NATO with a far cheaper option than shipping by air, was still under discussion with Russia and some Central Asian countries, and had not been implemented.

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India Set To Ramp Up Air Force Part One
Hong Kong (UPI) Aug 22, 2008
Within the next four months, a first batch of eight Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters will be positioned at India's Tezpur Air Base in the state of Assam, near the border with China, an Indian navy source has revealed. (In Part 2: India's military airport buildup.)







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