NATO has offered a new round of talks to Russia, but Moscow has so far not accepted the offer, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The press conference followed a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, the first in two and a half years.
“We offered a plan for further talks on a number of topics, including the deployment of rockets in Europe,” Stoltenberg said.
The issue of Russian short- and medium-range missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave and western Russia was one of the topics on which NATO hoped to make progress in Wednesday’s meeting.
The talks could include topics such as military communication channels that can help avoid dangerous incidents, the reopening of the NATO office in Moscow, and the reopening of Russia’s NATO office in Brussels.
At the same time, Stoltenberg made it clear that even though the Russians were not in a position to accept new talks immediately, they did not reject the offer. The representatives said that they needed time to come up with an answer.
“I hope Russia’s response will be positive.”
Stoltenberg emphasized that there is still a real danger of armed conflict in Europe.
“That is why these meetings are so important,” he noted.
In the meeting, NATO is said to have made it very clear that it is not stepping away from its central principles in the conflict.
“Only Ukraine and 30 allies can decide when Ukraine is ready to become an ally. No one else,” Stoltenberg said, warning about the danger of re-establishing spheres of influence in Europe.
Russia is said to have presented and argued for the proposals that have previously been sent to the United States and NATO. Several of these proposals have been rejected by NATO. At the same time, there are some other things that can be negotiated, according to Stoltenberg.
“It is possible to agree on verifiable, mutual arms control. We said that very clearly.”
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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