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NATO invites Russia to monitor Georgia war games


NATO headquarters in Brussels. A File Photo

BRUSSELS (PTI): NATO invited Russia today to send observers to alliance war games in Georgia next month in an effort to assuage Moscow's concerns about the manoeuvres.

"If Russia chooses to send observers, that are something that I think the alliance would look on quite positively, as a way of diminishing possible misunderstandings or concerns," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

"Russia should see, and if it sends observers will see, that in terms of numbers of soldiers on the ground, in terms of what they're doing... This is doing nothing but contributing to international security," he said.

Russia has described the military manoeuvres in NATO-hopeful Georgia, set to run from May 6 to June 1, as "provocative", but Appathurai said the anti-terrorism exercises involved only a few hundred troops.

"We're talking about 400-450 troops training to defend against a terrorist attack. This I think should be clearly no threat to anybody," he told reporters in Brussels.

NATO froze top level talks with Russia after it sent troops into Georgia last August and subsequently recognised the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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