Russia suspends military cooperation with NATO

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Moscow, Aug 22 (UNI) Russian has temporarily suspended military cooperation with NATO ahead of a political decision being made.

''Cooperation with NATO is a complex issue, and until Russia's political leaders have made a decision on what is involved, the Defence Ministry has suspended military cooperation with the alliance,'' Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said yesterday.

RIA Novosti news agency reported Rogozin will return to Moscow from Brussels today for discussions with the Russian leadership on cooperation with the Western alliance.

''I think all major decisions on our cooperation with NATO will be made during the consultations,'' the agency quoted him as saying.

NATO foreign ministers said after talks on Tuesday, that the alliance was freezing contacts with Russia until it pulled its troops out of Georgia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday said that Russia's future ties with NATO would depend on how the Western military alliance chose to act.

Moscow has accused NATO of taking Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili under its protection.

NATO's regional representative Robert Simmons said yesterday in Tbilisi NATO would help Georgia rebuild its defensive capability.

He said the main task now was for Russia to pull back its forces in accordance with the international ceasefire plan.

Mr Simmons said NATO backed the territorial integrity of Georgia and would do whatever it could to keep the country unified, adding that the alliance remained one of Georgia's main partners, RIA reported.

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