Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Apr.’09 / 10:57
NATO’s planned multinational exercises in Georgia are “not provocative” and “we believe that they’re important to go forward, and we’re going to do so,” Robert Wood, an acting spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, said on April 21.
“The NATO exercises are a normal part of NATO’s relationship with Georgia,” he said. “And the purpose of these exercises is to help Georgia meet NATO standards. I know there have been reports about Russia being concerned about these exercises. These exercises are no threat to Russia, to anybody else, and they’ve been in the planning stages for a long time.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused members of Nato of reverting to the “confrontational logic of the Cold War”.
In an interview with the BBC Russian service on April 21, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said that NATO was reverting to the “confrontational logic of the Cold War.”
He said that the roots of the diplomatic hostility lay in NATO’s “unilateral position” on the August war. Lavrov said the alliance members refused “to even debate the reasons for the conflict.”
Nineteen NATO-member and partner countries were initially to take part in the exercises, which will take place from May 6 to June 1 in Vaziani military base, twenty kilometers east of Tbilisi. On April 21, after Russia’s protests, however, Kazakhstan said that it would not take part. Other countries planning to participate are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Spain, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States