Russia, Piracy on Agenda at NATO Meeting
Restoring ties with Russia and the growing problem of piracy were among the items on the agenda at a meeting of NATO members in Brussels.
The focus of the two day talk is expected to be on Georgia's and Ukraine's hopes of joining the alliance and on the future of its relations with Russia.
NATO-Russia ties have been suspended since the war with Georgia in August.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary-General says:
"After the Caucasus conflict, we decided that there could be no business as usual with Russia, and that we had to seriously review our relationship. Today, we will continue this review and will discuss the parameters for our engagement with Russia. Our aim has never changed: to build a Europe whole, free and at peace - a Europe in which Russia should play her full part as a responsible major player."
France and Germany have warned against opening pre-membership talks with Ukraine and Georgia, saying such a move could antagonize Russia.
In the face of European opposition, Washington has backed off its plan to push for the two former-Soviet nations to be granted a "membership action plan" - considered a key step for candidate nations to join the alliance.
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