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NATO-Russia Council meeting ends with no new talks scheduled

NATO-Russia Council meeting ends with no new talks scheduled
Alliance refuses Russian proposals on European security arrangements, sticking to open door policy, NATO troops on eastern flank

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) – NATO and Russia showed interest to continue talks during their consultation but Russia was not ready to schedule a new meeting, the military bloc’s chief said on Wednesday.

“Both Russia and NATO allies expressed the need to resume dialogue and to explore a schedule for future meetings,” Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, told reporters following the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, adding that the Russian side was “not ready today to agree on such a schedule of meetings.”

Stoltenberg described the meeting of the NATO-Russia consultation platform as a “defining” moment for European security.”

He admitted that partners had differences which “are not easy to bridge,” but acknowledged the facts that NATO allies and Russia set down at the same table and showed willingness in continuing with discussions.

During the talks, NATO allies proposed to meet again to discuss concrete plans on arms control and transparency measures to prevent military incidences and to reduce space and cyber threats.

In response to Russia’s demands on halting the NATO enlargement process and withdrawing forces from NATO’s eastern flanks, Stoltenberg said NATO allies made clear that the military bloc “will not compromise on core principles.”

He added that allies confirmed their open-door policy, which only gives a say for the 30 NATO allies and the candidate countries to decide on accession, and they stood up for the right for each nation to choose their own security arrangements.

NATO allies also said they “will not denounce their ability to protect and defend each other including with presence of troops in the eastern part of the alliance,” he said.

They also expressed concern over the Russian military build-up in and around Ukraine, called on Moscow to de-escalate, as well as to “refrain from aggressive force posturing and malign activities directed against allies,” Stoltenberg explained.

Officials from NATO countries and Russia held talks in this format for the first time since NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Moscow in 2014 because of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

US and Russian delegations discussed bilateral topics on Monday during their eight-hour talk in Geneva, but they did not make any progress on the Ukraine issue.

Last month, Russia handed two draft treaties on European security arrangement to the US and NATO.

source: News Feed
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