U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on March 5 it was time for NATO to make a new start with Russia, but also urged the alliance to help Georgia and Ukraine to meet NATO standards.
“We should continue to open NATO's door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet NATO standards,” Clinton said in remarks before the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, western media sources reported.
“At the same time, we must never recognize the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or accept Russia’s assertions of spheres of influence over unwilling nations,” Clinton said.
She said that NATO had to find ways to “manage” differences persisting in the relations between the Alliance and Russia.
“It's time to explore a fresh start [with Russia]. We can and must find ways to work constructively with Russia where we share areas of common interest, including helping the people of Afghanistan,” Clinton added.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times’ Brussels bureau chief, Tony Barber, wrote on his blog, that later on March 5 Clinton was due to attend a meeting of NATO-Georgia Commission.
“This wasn’t on the original schedule of Clinton’s trip to Brussels, and got inserted at the last minute at the Georgians’ request,” Barber wrote. “Various NATO allies, especially the US, obviously felt it would not be a good signal to leave the Georgians out in the cold - so here they come.”