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Moscow criticizes NATO for 'freezing' Russia-NATO Council work

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Russia's permanent mission at the NATO headquarters in Brussels urged the military alliance on Wednesday to stop hindering the work of the Russia-NATO Council.
BRUSSELS, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's permanent mission at the NATO headquarters in Brussels urged the military alliance on Wednesday to stop hindering the work of the Russia-NATO Council.

NATO has cancelled plans to hold a Council meeting to draft a new model for European security, previously scheduled for September 24. The meeting was called by Russia.

"The Russia-NATO Council was formed as a mechanism for political dialogue on current and especially urgent issues of European security," the Russian mission said in a statement.

"We regret yet another display of capricious politics and call upon our partners to take this matter seriously," the statement went on.

Russia said Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia clearly showed the fragility of today's system of European security and its failure to meet current threats and challenges.

"In these circumstances, the discussion of a new model for European security is extremely urgent," the statement said.

Relations between NATO and Russia have sunk to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War due to the recent conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi over Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

On August 26, two weeks after the end of a five-day military operation to 'force Georgia to peace', Russia recognized the republic as an independent state, along with Abkhazia, another Georgian breakaway region.

NATO subsequently urged Russia to reverse its decision and respect Georgia's territorial integrity. At a NATO ministerial meeting in August the 26 member countries condemned Russia's actions in South Ossetia and decided to suspend joint RNC activities.

Moscow in turn blamed Western powers for encouraging Tbilisi's aggression and suspended all peacekeeping operations with NATO for at least six months. It has also frozen its participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

At the same time, Moscow has not suspended cooperation with NATO on conventional weapons control and airspace regulation. Russia also continues to support NATO operations in Afghanistan due to concerns over the worsening military and political situation in the country, with its ongoing rise in extremism and drug production.

NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on September 18 that both the military alliance and Russia would be much better off facing global challenges together rather than engaging in an escalation of rhetoric over Georgia.

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