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  Monday, November 18, 2019
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NATO said on Monday that a NATO-Russia Council meeting scheduled
NATO said on Monday that a NATO-Russia Council meeting scheduled for May 7 in Brussels was still due to take place.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai told RIA Novosti that the military alliance was aware of media speculation that Moscow was planning to pull out of the meeting over NATO military drills due to be held in Georgia, but that it had heard nothing official from Moscow.

The Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 command-and-staff exercises will be held in Georgia from May 6 through June 1. They will not feature light or heavy weaponry.

NATO has said Russia would be welcome to join the military exercises, but Moscow looks unlikely to take up the offer.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Russia "will be closely watching" the drills and would "if necessary, take appropriate decisions."

"Such decisions are disappointing and do nothing to help restore full-level contacts between the Russian Federation and NATO," Medvedev said of NATO's determination to go ahead with the exercises.

The drills are aimed at improving interoperability between NATO and partner countries, within the framework of Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative programs.

A total of 19 countries are set to participate in the exercises: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Greece, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, and the United States.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last August over South Ossetia. Hostilities began when Georgian forces attacked the republic in an attempt to bring it back under central control.


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