Country seeks mediation in Russia crisis
August 12, 2008
At the behest of Georgian officials, the North Atlantic Council will convene a special, closed-door meeting Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the escalating situation in the Russian-backed separatist region of South Ossetia.
Georgia, a NATO aspirant and member of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, is seeking a truce in the fighting that has pitted it against Russian and separatist forces.
Georgia initiated hostilities Friday in an effort to reclaim the breakaway province.
"The Georgians will present their case," said a NATO official who requested anonymity. "Then there will be an exchange of views."
The council is the alliance’s highest political decision-making body. Each of the alliance’s 26 member states has an ambassador assigned to the council, which planned to meet Tuesday at NATO headquarters.
Thousands of people reportedly have fled South Ossetia, either north to the Russian province of North Ossetia or south toward Georgia proper.
Hundreds of civilians and Georgian military personnel have been reported killed in the fighting.
On Sunday, Georgia called for a cessation to the fighting, maintaining its forces were retreating. Russia rebuffed the claim, alleging the Georgian military was merely regrouping.
"We don’t know what happens next," the NATO official said Monday. "The situation is developing."
The official said there is no specific plan in the works, characterizing it as "a quickly unfolding situation."
"We will see what happens tomorrow," the official said.
The council has hastily convened before to address past crisises, such as the fighting in Kosovo or the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.