NATO chief calls for re-evaluation of relations with Russia

Valencia (Spain), Nov 18 (DPA) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said Tuesday that the alliance should re-evaluate its relations with Russia without severing them.

The relations should be reconsidered after Russia's 'disproportionate' use of force in Georgia, but not broken because the relations were a 'strategic asset', Scheffer said at the 54th annual meeting of the NATO parliamentary assembly.

The assembly adopted a resolution urging Russia to respect the sovereignty of other nations as about 300 delegates from 50 countries were wrapping up their five-day meeting in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

Georgian Vice-Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze warned that a new military conflict was possible unless the international community was on alert against another Russian intervention in Georgia.

NATO parliamentary assembly president Jose Lello said NATO needed to maintain an 'open communications channel' with Russia, but that the communication should be 'sincere and direct'.

The assembly approved several resolutions. It called on NATO countries to intensify their peacekeeping effort in Afghanistan, to help train Afghan security forces, to promote democracy and fight drug trafficking in the Asian country.

The assembly, whose resolutions are not binding, also said NATO should remain committed to securing peace in Kosovo through the necessary international military and civilian presence.

John Craddock, the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe, said the alliance's military command was concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme, urging the NATO to develop its long-range missile defences.


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