Stoltenberg: NATO-Russia Council to Hold after Warsaw Summit

Stoltenberg: NATO-Russia Council to Hold after Warsaw Summit
Mon Jul 4, 2016 20:44:39

The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has rejected previous speculations that the Western military alliance will hold a meeting with Russia before its upcoming meeting in Poland.

Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that talks with Russia will be held shortly after this weekend’s summit of NATO leaders in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

In April, NATO and Russia held their first meeting since June 2014, with reports saying that it ended in deep disagreements on issues like Ukraine and accession of new states to the military alliance.

Stoltenberg said in May that hopes were high for a meeting with officials from Moscow before the Warsaw summit. Moscow had censured NATO’s announcement of meeting with Russia in May, saying the planned move came without seeking prior confirmation from the Russian side.

The top NATO official attached high significance to the joint efforts of the alliance and Russia to reach consensus on key issues, saying the meetings could lead to “increase predictability.”

“That is why we are working with Russia to hold another meeting of the council shortly after the summit,” Stoltenberg said, adding, “The NATO-Russia Council has an important role to play as a forum for dialogue.”

Leaders of the 28-nation bloc will reportedly meet in Warsaw to finalize the biggest military buildup of the alliance since the Cold War. The bloc says the buildup will come in response to what it calls new security challenges, including a newly resurgent Russia.

Ties between NATO and Russia have been tense for the last two years over a crisis in Ukraine, where the government and its Western allies keep accusing Moscow of having a hand in the militancy in the east. The Kremlin strongly rejects the claims.

Russia has also criticized NATO’s expansion policy to include countries in the Western Balkan region, saying the move directly harms Russia’s strategic interests in the area, Press TV reported.

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