Rogozin Warns NATO on Georgia

Moscow-backed breakaway regions in Georgia will start the process of "real secession" if NATO gives Georgia a signal that it can join the alliance, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, said Tuesday.

"As soon as Georgia gets some kind of prospect from Washington of NATO membership, the next day the process of real secession of [Abkhazia and South Ossetia] from Georgia will begin," Rogozin said in a telephone interview.

Asked if he meant that Russia might recognize independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Rogozin said, "My personal view is this: We will have no arguments left that will stand in the way of this process."

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the alliance had made no decision on whether to offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan, the first step on the path to accession.