Russia isolating itself over Georgia: Rice

18:18, 19 August 2008
World
746 0

Rice told a news conference

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Russia Tuesday it was isolating itself from the international community with its behaviour in Georgia, according to AFP.

"The behaviour of Russia in this most recent conflict is isolating Russia from the principles of cooperation among nations," Rice told a news conference after an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

"When you start invading smaller neighbours, bombing civilian infrastructure, going into villages and wreaking havoc and (carrying out) the wanton destruction of (its) infrastructure, that is isolating.

"It is not an act of the United States or the European Union or anyone else to isolate Russia, it is what Russia is doing," she said.

Russia`s refusal to comply with a ceasefire agreement to withdraw its troops from Georgia meant that NATO -- the West`s main military alliance -- "cannot continue business as usual" with Russia, Rice said, echoing the final communique agreed by the ministers.

Rice said the ministers wanted to demonstrate in their strongly worded statement that NATO would not allow Russia to dictate the terms of when former Soviet states such as Georgia and Ukraine could join the Alliance.

"This is a very clear statement that NATO, having come so far after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union... is not going to permit a new line to be drawn in Europe," Rice said.

The line, she said, was "between those who were fortunate enough to make it into the transatlantic structures and those who still aspire to make it into the transatlantic structures."

"There will absolutely be no new line, NATO does not accept that there is a new line and we are not acting as if there is a new line," she said.

Having seen a number of eastern European states join NATO, Russia is furious at neighbouring Georgia`s attempts to joint the Alliance.

If Georgia had been a NATO member, the Alliance would have been obliged to defend it against invasion from Russia.

While a column of Russian armour left the key Georgian town of Gori on Tuesday, there was no sign of a full withdrawal 11 days after Moscow poured troops into the country.

AFP

If you see a spelling error on our site, select it and press Ctrl+Enter