NATO pulls its punches on penalty against Russia

August 19, 2008 12:45:14 PM PDT
NATO is calling on Russia to pull its troops from Georgia. But the alliance is pulling its punches when it comes to backing up its demands. NATO has suspended formal contacts as punishment for the Georgia invasion but is resisting U.S. pressure for more severe penalties.

The Russian Ambassador to NATO played down the impact of the emergency meeting of the Western alliance, saying: "The mountain gave birth to a mouse."

The allies say they will not convene any more meetings of the NATO-Russia Council until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia. But they bowed to concerns from Europe -- which depends heavily on Russia for energy -- and stopped short of adopting specific long-term steps to punish Moscow.

In a small victory for the United States, NATO foreign ministers did agree to create a commission to oversee Georgia's bid to join the alliance and begin providing military training to its army.