TBILISI (AFP) - NATO's chief promised deeper ties with Georgia on Monday as Brussels pledged half a billion euros to help the Western ally rebuild following last month's war with Russia. The commitment from NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer came at the start of a two-day tour of the country that has angered Moscow. Russia went to war with Georgia on August 8 over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia hates the idea of NATO expansion into ex-Soviet territory, Georgia and Ukraine in particular, and has been accused of using the conflict with Georgia to send out exactly that message. De Hoop Scheffer said a new commission he was in Georgia to set up would allow "in-depth discussions on the regional security situation and address our wish to further enhance the NATO-Georgia relationship." Alongside him, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili indicated the commission would "accelerate" Georgia's integration into NATO. De Hoop Scheffer and ambassadors of all 26 NATO nations were greeted at the steps of their plane by an honour guard of soldiers with Georgian flags flying from their bayonets. It remains unclear how exactly last month's conflict with Russia will play out on Tbilisi's NATO ambitions, but the arrival of such a large delegation was seen as a massive show of support for a key Western ally. Some NATO members are loath to antagonise a resurgent Russia without good cause and it is highly doubtful Georgia will be awarded a hoped-for "membership action plan" (MAP) in December " this would make it an official candidate. Before leaving Brussels, the NATO chief took aim at the European Union-brokered ceasefire that ended the conflict in Georgia, saying it was "difficult to swallow" because it made too many concessions to Russia. "The option of keeping Russian forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia (a second Georgian rebel region) is not acceptable," De Hoop Scheffer said in comments to London's Financial Times newspaper. In the Belgian capital, EU foreign ministers gave the green light to a 200-strong observer team that will be deployed by October 1 to monitor the Russian withdrawal. The European Commission also announced aid worth 712 million dollars to help those displaced by the war and to allow Georgia to rebuild its shattered economy and infrastructure. The package will cover the 2008-2010 period. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to pull all his troops out of Georgia within 10 days of the deployment of the EU monitors, although 7,600 soldiers will remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in South Ossetia on Monday wrapping up a two-day tour of Georgia's rebel regions during which he issued a personal and scathing attack on De Hoop Scheffer. "Of course I've heard the declarations he makes, declarations that are inappropriate for the leader of such a serious organisation," Lavrov said in Abkhazia on Sunday. Relations between Russia and NATO and Russia and the West have plumbed depths rarely seen since the Cold War after Moscow ordered its military deep into Georgia last month. The move was ordered to repel a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, but President Saakashvili says Russia was about to invade anyway. The Kremlin's subsequent recognition of the two Moscow-backed rebel regions as independent states was greeted with incredulity in some Western capitals. Georgia says Russia has effectively annexed two large chunks of its territory. Hundreds of people on both sides are estimated to have been killed in the August 7-12 conflict. Tens of thousands fled their homes. Russian troops pulled out of encampments in western Georgia on Saturday in line with their first commitments under the ceasefire. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday that international talks on Abkhazia and South Ossetia had been delayed by a few days because the original date of October 15 clashed with an EU summit.