MOSCOW, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Georgia's possible
membership in NATO will seriously affect Russia's interests and have a negative
impact on the situation in the problem-ridden regions, Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Alexander Grushko said on Wednesday.
"The admission of Russia's nearest neighbors to the alliance
will seriously affect our political, military and economic interests, and have a
negative effect on the fragile situation in the problem-ridden districts,"
Grushko said in an interview with the Interfax news agency, before the NATO
Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer started his visit to Russia.
"Any enlargement of military-political unions entails
considerable changes in the sphere of security," Grushko said.
"The experience of previous enlargements shows that
countries that enter the alliance try to resolve their problems by various
methods, including by placing them within the context of Russia-NATO relations,"
"In Georgia's case, all these fears, unfortunately,
have received additional confirmation. Steps being taken by NATO to accommodate
Tbilisi's needs have been interpreted by the Georgian authorities as an
incentive to pursue a confrontational policy toward Russia," he said.
The Georgian authorities took provocative
anti-Russian measures as soon as NATO launched its intensive dialogue with
Georgia in New York in September, Grushko said.
"It is difficult not to notice that these events are
"Instead of making any gestures of encouragement
toward Tbilisi,the international community should give its uncompromising
assessment of the Georgian leadership's intention to settle the Georgian-Abkhaz
and the Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts, (by) using force," Grushko said.
Speaking about upcoming negotiations with de Hoop
Scheffer, the deputy foreign minister said it was not the NATO secretary
general's first visit to Moscow.
"Plenty of practical steps have been taken to promote
the Russia-NATO partnership in areas of mutual interest since the last meeting
on June 24, 2005," he said.
However, "there are problems in our relations with
NATO, on which we are having a sincere dialogue within the Russia-NATO Council,"
"I am speaking about plans to transform and reform
the alliance, steps to bring NATO's military infrastructure close to our
borders, and other aspects that worry us. All these topics will be high on the
agenda of the upcoming talks," Grushko said.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer arrived
in Moscow on Wednesday, on a two-day working visit to have talks with Russian
officials on cooperation between the bloc and Russia.