NEWPORT Russia (Reuters) - NATO, responding to Russian warnings against Ukraine's bid to join the western alliance, said on Friday that no third country could veto its enlargement policy and approved new steps to advance Georgia towards membership.
"No third country has a veto over NATO enlargement," Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference on the second day of a summit of the U.S.-led defence pact, adding: "NATO's door remains open. Each country will be judged on its merits."
The 28-member alliance agreed on a package of measures to boost Georgia's defence capabilities and advance the former Soviet republic's preparations to join, he said. Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 after NATO agreed in principle that it and Ukraine would one day become members.
Rasmussen also said NATO stood ready, if requested, to help Iraq counter Islamic State fighters who have captured swathes of its territory and would cooperate on exchanging information on foreign fighters returning from the Middle East - a potential source of terrorism in Western countries.
(Writing by Paul Taylor, editing by Mike Peacock)