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NATO denies provoking Russia-Georgia conflict

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

NATO denied provoking last month’s conflict between Russia and Georgia, a spokesman for the alliance said Friday, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused it of sparking the conflict.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer meanwhile pledged “full solidarity” with the ex-Soviet republic, following an informal meeting with the 26-nation bloc’s defence ministers in London.

In a separate development likely to anger Moscow, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and his Czech counterpart signed an agreement clearing the way for stationing US forces to operate a missile defence radar in the Czech Republic.

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Asked for his response to Medvedev’s accusations earlier, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told AFP: “There is nothing provocative about supporting Georgia’s democratic development, nor anything provocative in helping them meet their aspirations to come closer to the Euro-Atlantic community.”

Medvedev had said NATO “provoked the conflict” between Russia and Georgia last month, adding that Russia was “being pushed… behind an Iron Curtain. I would like to underline again that this is not our path. There is no sense for us in returning to the past.”

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This article was posted: Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 3:58 am

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