NATO eyes January date for resumption of talks with Russia

Other News Materials 19 December 2008 18:56 (UTC +04:00)

NATO and Russia are expected to resume direct talks at ambassadorial level in January, an alliance spokeswoman said Friday, dpa reported.

"The (NATO) secretary general is now looking at a date for an informal meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at ambassadors' level in mid-January," Carmen Romero told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Her comments came after an informal lunchtime meeting between NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO.

The meeting in Brussels was the first of its kind since NATO broke off formal ties with Russia over the August conflict in Georgia.

NATO foreign ministers had asked de Hoop Scheffer on December 2 to explore the possibility of resuming the NATO-Russia Council, a forum for direct dialogue, following the end of the conflict.

"This doesn't mean that we now suddenly agree with the Russians on their disproportionate use of force in August ... We fundamentally disagree, but we'll try to re-engage," the NATO secretary general said at the time.

France and Germany are among those that have been pushing hardest for a resumption of dialogue with the European Union's largest neighbour.

NATO spokesman Romero said the secretary general and Rogozin had held "an open discussion" over lunch.

"They talked about the broad spectrum of NATO-Russia relations, without going into details," Romero said