Talks With NATO Resuming

BRUSSELS -- NATO and Russia on Friday will hold their first high-level contact since the alliance froze ties with Moscow after its war with Georgia in August, a NATO official said.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will meet Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to the alliance, in a move towards repairing disrupted ties, the official said, adding that it would be "an informal lunch in Brussels."

The 26-member NATO agreed this month to gradually resume contacts with Russia, with European allies arguing that the freeze in ties was counter to NATO's security interests.

De Hoop Scheffer said then the allies had asked him to see what political contacts would be possible and that the suspended ambassador-level NATO-Russia Council would meet again on an informal basis at some point.

The NATO official said the purpose of the meeting would be for de Hoop Scheffer to assess when that might be possible.

Rogozin was quoted Interfax as saying he had agreed on a "road map" on restoring relations in meetings with NATO officials this week and that he would have a working meeting with de Hoop Scheffer.

Russia has welcomed NATO's announcement that it wanted to repair ties, saying it does not want a new Cold War.