RIA Novosti: Russian envoy says NATO dialogue “gradually being restored”

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(RIA Novosti – August 18, 2016)

Russian permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko has said that dialogue with NATO is gradually improving.

“Today our main attention is on political dialogue, which is gradually being restored. Two sessions of the Russia-NATO council have taken place,” Grushko told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.

“Furthermore, taking part in the last session were our military, who put forward a whole range of specific suggestions that would make it possible to go ahead with de-escalating tensions and removing fears of unintended military incidents. And we hope that NATO countries individually and collectively will draw up a response to these proposals in the near future. This will also be an indicator of whether NATO is ready to move towards normalising relations with Russia,” he said.

Moscow proceeds from the principle that the “decision that was taken to stop cooperation with Russia genuinely impairs European security and does not help to bolster security either in Russia or in NATO countries”, he said.

He went on: “That primarily concerns working together on neutralising common threats and challenges. We had a whole range of projects that were very important for resolving specific tasks. They are, first and foremost, the fight against terrorism, which has constituted the main part of the Russia-NATO Council’s work recently, the fight against illegal drugs from Afghanistan, and the fight against piracy.”

He concluded: “We are not the ones who took this decision [to stop cooperation – RIA Novosti]. We in fact have not made any requests to NATO that such cooperation must be restored. Ultimately, this is the decision of NATO countries, and it is for them to decide how they see the role of this organisation in the new global security environment. We are convinced – and this not only applies to NATO – that common threats and challenges can be dealt with together. And we don’t exclude NATO from this understanding of ours of how one should act in the international arena.”

[featured image is file photo]