Clinton says 'time to move ahead' in relations with Russia

16:00, 05 March 2009
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The United States has been a strong...

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that it was "time to move ahead" in relations with Russia, as she endorsed a resumption of formal high-level ties between NATO and Moscow, according to AFP.

"It is time to move ahead, not wait in place with the illusion that things will change on their own," she told NATO foreign ministers at a Brussels meeting.

"It is time for realism, as well as hope," she said, as ministers debated whether to return to top-level NATO-Russia Council talks which were frozen over Russia`s war with Georgia last August.

"While some perceive the NATO-Russia Council as a reward or concession to Russia, it should be viewed as a mechanism for dialogue on issues where we disagree and a platform for cooperation that is in our interests," she said.

The United States has been a strong backer of Georgia`s efforts to join NATO, as well as the candidature of Ukraine, and has consistently demanded that Russia change tack before dialogue officially resumes.

NATO and Moscow resumed informal level talks in December.

Alliance diplomats said Wednesday that the first official meeting could take place at the level of ministers after NATO`s 60th anniversary summit in early April.

In an effort to ease the concerns of Georgia and Ukraine, both striving to join NATO in the face of Russian objections, the ministers were also set to meet Thursday with Georgian and Ukrainian representatives.

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