Britain urges Russia to retain Nato links

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Britain has urged Russia not to sever ties with Nato today amid continuing fall-out from the Georgia crisis.

The Foreign Office warned that suspending all co-operation would be "a mistake" after a threat from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Mr Medvedev said relations with Nato had "worsened sharply" as a result of the conflict, and he was considering a number of options.

"We are ready to take any decision, up to halting relations altogether," he said after a meeting in Sochi.

However, a Foreign Office spokesman responded: "Nato-Russian relations will need to take fully into account the implications of the military action in Georgia.

"But we believe that it would be a mistake to suspend all Nato-Russian contacts at a time when they are so much needed."

The exchanges came as both houses of parliament in Russia demanded that Georgia's breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia have their independence formally recognised.

Although the votes in the Federation Council and State Duma are not binding on Mr Medvedev, they would be likely to strengthen his hand in any future negotiations with the West.