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NATO Chief Says Russia Must 'Respect' Georgia’s Turn To West


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (file photo)
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (file photo)
BRUSSELS -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia must accept Georgia's decision to pursue greater integration with the military alliance and the EU.

"The people of Georgia have chosen the path that leads toward [the] European Union and NATO membership," Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels on June 4 during a two-day summit of NATO defense ministers. "That is their sovereign choice. We respect it. So should Russia."

Earlier in the day, the NATO-Georgia Commission met and discussed Russia’s "illegal annexation" of Ukraine's Crimea, Rasmussen said.

He said officials at the meeting did not discuss a timetable for a possible action plan on Georgia’s eventual membership in NATO.

Rasmussen said NATO foreign ministers later this month will address progress reports for Georgia and other nations seeking membership.

Earlier, Rasmussen praised Georgia's efforts to reform its military.

He said Georgia has made "good progress, especially in making the defense and security sectors more transparent and accountable."
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