US, Russian Commanders Hold First Post-Georgia Talks

Secret meeting is first between chiefs since Georgian conflict
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2008 4:14 PM CDT
Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Ranking US and Russian military commanders met face to face for the first time since the Georgian crisis, the AFP reports. Few details emerged from the Helsinki meeting, but it appeared to be a first step toward a mending of relations. Michael Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the relationship “will not return to exactly where it was before Georgia,” but pointed out “that even in the darkest days of the Cold War we were talking to each other.”

“It wasn't a meeting about disagreements (so much) as it was a dialogue and a commitment to continue the dialogue—in particular between him and me," said Mullen, referring to his Russian counterpart, Gen. Nikolai Makarov. Afterward, Mullen traveled to NATO member states in the Baltic to convey “a very visible message of reassurance.”