UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY KREMLIN SPOKESMAN
By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Turkiye, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Thursday.
The meeting will be held when the COVID-19 pandemic situation and the schedules of the two leaders allow for it, Peskov told reporters at a daily briefing in Moscow.
“President Putin gratefully accepted this invitation. And they agreed that as soon as the epidemiological situation and the schedules allow, he will definitely take advantage of this invitation,” he said.
Due to the pandemic, Peskov said, there has been “a certain pause” in holding meetings of the intergovernmental commission and the High-Level Cooperation Council, which is headed by the two presidents.
The topic was discussed several times in recent presidential contacts, and Erdogan said he was ready to host all these events in Turkiye, Peskov added.
Erdogan and Putin periodically speak by phone and have had a number of mutual visits in recent years.
- On US, NATO responses to security demands: ‘Not many reasons for optimism’
Commenting on the US and NATO responses to Moscow’s security proposal, Peskov said “there are not so many reasons for optimism” because NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “unequivocally said about the rejection” of the main concerns outlined by Russia.
“From what our colleagues said yesterday, it becomes extremely clear that our main concerns were not taken into account, and no willingness was shown” to do it, he said.
Nevertheless, the relevant bodies will thoroughly examine the documents, Peskov added.
He also said Putin may have consultations with Russia’s Security Council, his advisors and other officials to decide on further steps if necessary.
Asked if Russia and the US can sign a declaration similar to the one that ended the Cold War in 1992, the spokesman said: “In the current conditions, one can really only dream of concluding such an agreement, of signing such papers.”
As for possible new contacts between Russian and US representatives, Peskov said there can likely be some talks at the working level.
There are no agreements about a new meeting of the top diplomats, he also said. “The presidents will decide for themselves whether they need to talk, and if necessary, when.”
Meanwhile, as the Russian-US relations continue deteriorating, Peskov called “a very serious” American threat to force the Russian ambassador to leave the US by April if Russia does not grant visas to the security staff of the US Embassy in Moscow.
Last December, Russia presented to the US and NATO its proposal on providing security guarantees in Europe.
On Wednesday, after a series of talks, the US and NATO delivered their written responses to the Russian Foreign Ministry about Moscow’s security demands.