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NATO, Russia Hold ‘Risk Reduction’ Talks

NATO, Russia Hold ‘Risk Reduction’ Talks
Thu Sep 15, 2016 16:50:07

NATO and Russia on Thursday held high-level talks on risk reduction and transparency to avoid any misunderstandings, after a series of close shaves, the US-led alliance said in a statement.

As NATO embarks on its biggest build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter a more assertive Russia following the annexation of Crimea, there have been a string of incidents in the Baltic and Black Sea involving ships and planes.

“As part of our continuing dialogue with Russia, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, met with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Alexander Grushko,” the statement said.

“They discussed ways to increase transparency and risk reduction.”

NATO leaders agreed at a summit in July in Warsaw to boost their presence in the Baltic States — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia — plus Poland to reassure the former Soviet era satellites rattled by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

The NATO statement said Vershbow had told Grushko that the alliance was ready to continue the dialogue but there was no change otherwise in policy towards Russia.

“Our practical cooperation remains suspended following Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine,” it said. “At the same time, we decided to keep channels of political dialogue open.”

The statement added that NATO head Jens Stoltenberg “looks forward to discussing these issues and next steps with the Russian Foreign Minister,” Sergei Lavrov, in the near future; AFP reported.

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