NATO and Russia are talking again for the first time since the August invasion of Georgia, AP reports.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow’s ambassador to the alliance, met over lunch Friday in the first high-level meeting after a four-month hiatus caused by the war.
The informal meeting aimed to explore how formal contacts could be restarted.
“They agreed to look at ways to restart the engagement,” said NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero. She said the two sides would look to hold an informal meeting of the NATO-Russia Council — a consultative panel set up in 2002 to improve relations between the former Cold War foes — at ambassadorial level next month.
Rogozin said his lunch with de Hoop Scheffer in an Italian restaurant near NATO headquarters was a step toward “normalization” of relations. “The most difficult thing is to make the first step,” he told reporters. “We are at the beginning of the difficult route to restore trust.”
This is largely symbolic, since the EU and US have continued talking with Russia throughout the process.