Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Georgia to NATO

Despite reports that the Bush administration has softened its stance on Georgia's NATO membership, other NATO members are apparently still willing to admit the country into the alliance, at least according to British Foreign Secretary David Milband. For its part, NATO has agreed to suspend diplmatic talks with Russia, which continues to maintain troops in Georgia despite their promise to withdraw.

UPDATE: And now the Russians admit they have no intention of withdrawing from Georgia at all (via Kevin Drum):

A ranking Russian military official today said Moscow plans to establish 18 long-term checkpoints inside Georgian territory, including at least eight within undisputed Georgian territory outside the pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia.

The checkpoints will be staffed by hundreds of Russian troops, with those in Georgia proper needing supplies that would be ferried to them from South Ossetia.

If implemented, the plan would effectively put under Russian control the border between Georgia and its South Ossetia region, which is seeking independence with Moscow's backing, as well as a small chunk of Georgia proper.

"This is the essence of it," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the army general staff, told reporters at a briefing. He showed maps detailing the proposed Russian positions, one just outside the key city of Gori.

"The president ordered us to stop where we were," he said. "We are not pulling out and pulling back troops behind this administrative border into the territory of South Ossetia."

I imagine the resposne from NATO and the Bush administration will be somewhat less than receptive.

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