Thursday, June 4, 2009


NATO, Russia ministers to meet on Corfu June 27

Photo: NATO`s Supreme Commander James Stavridis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of NATO and Russia will meet in Greece on June 27, the first such high-level talks since Russia's war with Georgia last August, the Western military alliance said on Wednesday.

The two sides had aimed to hold the meeting in May, but Moscow postponed it after NATO expelled two Russian diplomats over a spying scandal. NATO froze normal contacts with Russia in protest at Russia's intervention in Georgia.

"There is agreement to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at foreign ministers' level on June 27 on Corfu," said NATO spokesman James Appathurai. "This is taking forward the decision by (NATO) ministers to reestablish contacts at the political level."
Appathurai said Corfu had been chosen as it would be the venue of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperration in Europe.

"This is a good chance to get Minister Lavrov and Clinton without interrupting the travel schedules too much," he said. NATO had said coordinating the schedules of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been an obstacle to rescheduling the meeting.

The work of the joint Russia-NATO Council was suspended after Russia's intervention in Georgia and the ministerial meeting will be the culmination of a gradual restoration in contacts.
NATO and Russia said last week that the mood between them had warmed, clearing the way for better cooperation on global security issues including piracy and Afghanistan.

NATO is particularly hopeful of greater cooperation on Afghanistan, where the 28-nation alliance has been struggling to contain a growing Islamist insurgency.

Note: Just after tow days of NATO-Russia meeting in Corfu, Albania is to hold politic elections. According to ODIR observatories team established in Tirana, the Albanian elections could bring serious consequences if Tirana continues to ignore free and Democratic elections.

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