Georgia, NATO top Merkel, Medvedev agenda

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October 2, 2008 17:59
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Germany's chancellor chastised Russia on Thursday for its actions in Georgia this year. Chancellor Angela Merkel was holding talks with President Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg - their fourth meeting this year - at a fragile time in Russia's relations with the European Union. "We believe Russia's reaction in this crisis was not appropriate," Merkel said during an annual summit between the governments of Germany and Russia. She said it was important for Russian-German relations to continue bringing up awkward issues, calling them "inevitable." Russia-EU relations have been strained since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Georgia in early August and recognized the independence of its breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions. As part of a French-brokered cease-fire, EU monitors began patrolling Georgian territory on Wednesday, and Russian troops allowed some into a buffer zone around South Ossetia. Russia has pledged to withdraw its forces from areas outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia within 10 days of the monitors' deployment. Medvedev on Thursday reiterated that Russia believes it did the right thing in Georgia, but also reassured that the disagreement should not lead to a new Cold War. "Maybe somebody would like to divide the world into allies and strangers, into those who are right and those who are wrong, but here in Russia we are confident that this time has irreparably gone," Medvedev said.

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