Stoltenberg urged not to isolate Russia over the Crimea and Salisbury :: Policy :: RBC

The approach of the NATO military bloc to Russia should be based on willingness to dialogue. “Russia is our neighbour, she’s not going anywhere,” said the Secretary General of the organization

Jens Stoltenberg

(Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters)

The members of NATO see no immediate threat to any ally with Russia, said the Secretary General of the organization Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO forum Engages, which takes place in the framework of the summit of the bloc in Brussels. The speech of Stoltenberg was broadcast on the NATO website.

“My approach to Russia is largely based on what I learned when I was a Norwegian politician. I started working with the Russians back in the 1990s, ( … ), and I worked with them in different areas, because Russia is a neighbour. Even in the coldest period of the cold war, we had a working relationship with Russia,” he said.

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The approach to Russia should be based on two factors, says Stoltenberg: the unity bloc and the dialogue with Moscow. NATO must remain a unified organization, and its members must invest in their defense. There is a unity, NATO can conduct political dialogue with Russia, said Stoltenberg.

“Russia is our neighbour, she’s not going anywhere. We need to talk with Russia, in part in order to achieve the best possible relationship. I think it’s achievable. When it can happen, don’t know, but I believe that we can achieve the best relations with Russia”, — he said.

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But this does not mean, said the Secretary General of NATO that the Alliance will recognize and accept everything that makes President Vladimir Putin. “We do not recognise its illegal annexation of the Crimea, we do not recognize the [activity] in cyberspace, propaganda, interference in the internal Affairs of other countries, of Salisbury. (…) But for me it is not a reason to isolate Russia or to abandon the dialogue with her. I have the opposite opinion: when relations are strained, the dialogue becomes even more important,” — said Stoltenberg. The dialogue will help to prevent an uncontrolled escalation as a result of a random incident, said the Secretary General.

Stoltenberg earlier called for dialogue and stressed that the Alliance does not seek to isolate Russia. In this approach, the Secretary General welcomed Putin’s meeting with the President of the United States Donald trump, which will take place on 16 July in Helsinki. Stoltenberg noted that the summit can contribute to the dialogue between the military bloc and Moscow.

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