Moscow expects the latest NATO decision to launch an "intensive dialogue" with Georgia "not to encourage Tbilisi`s endeavours to alter the existing international and legal formats of the negotiations on the settlement of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia problems, its stake on the use of forcible methods to settle the conflicts", says the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry, which was released on Friday, according to Itar-Tass.

      The NATO Council, which met at the level of foreign ministers in New York on Thursday, decided "intensive dialogue" with Georgia. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes it will "negatively affect the frail Caucasian situation".

      "Tbilisi regards the new form of its relations with the alliance as a major step towards Georgia`s admission to NATO," the Russian Foreign Ministry notes. "Our negative attitude to this is well known," it adds. "The character of the new risks and menaces to security calls for other patterns of international interaction, different from those of the military-political alliances, which were built up during the `cold war` years," the document says.

      "Any enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance leads to substantial changes in the sphere of security," the ministry stresses. "However, the case of Georgia is special due to its geographic proximity to Russia and to the obvious complexity of the Caucasian problems," it adds.

      "The experience of previous enlargements shows that the countries, acceding to the alliance, are frequently trying to tackle the bilateral problems with us by including them in the context of the Russo-NATO relations," the statement says.

      As to Georgia, "the already existing difficulties can be expected to escalate and there will be less chances to settle them," it points out.

      "It can be easily predicted that Georgia`s integration in NATO will worsen still more the Russian public`s view on the alliance, since Tbilisi is making no bones of the fact that it would like to shift to Brussels all its problems with South Ossetia and Abkhazia," the document notes.

      "In this case, the alliance will inevitably be associated by many in Russia with the actions of the present-day Georgian leadership, which has an obviously anti-Russian orientation," the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry stresses.