NATO on Russia: "we cannot continue with business as usual"

NATO members today said that they could not continue with "business as usual" with Russia and again called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory.

Following talks in Brussels at an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers called by Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that "The future of our relations with Russia will depend on the concrete actions Russia will take to abide by the words of President Dmitry Medvedev [regarding the peace plan], which is not happening at the moment".

In response, Russian officials accused NATO of trying to save a criminal regime. In the last hour or so, Russia's Ambassador to NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance) has warned the West against allowing Georgia to enter the Alliance. "I would like to ask you whether you are ready to risk your prosperity, to risk your lives and the lives of your children just for (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili," Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin said.

Rogozin proceeded, "My proposal is to accept Hitler in NATO, then Saddam, after that, Saakashvili. That's the order that I propose for NATO accession".

The Full Statement Issued by NATO is here.

Picture: NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer speaking at a press conference earlier today; courtesy NATO

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