NATO is seeking the right course in dealing with Russia | Free press


Brussels (AP) – Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas hopes to resume political talks between representatives of Russia and NATO.

It is important for Germany that there is a unified response from the alliance to Russian aggression and disinformation, the SPD politician said on the sidelines of talks with NATO colleagues in Brussels. But they also believe that we should continue to talk to Russia.

Maas said there were opportunities, especially at the NATO-Russia Council, to “conduct this dialogue in a very intensive and trusting manner in terms of security policy”. They are ready and hope that the Russian side will be ready again in the foreseeable future.

The most recent talks with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council took place in July 2019. It is considered the main forum for exchange between the Western Military Alliance and Russia.

The new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke out for a two-pronged approach during the NATO meeting. Where it benefits their own interests, they want to cooperate with Moscow, he said. At the same time, attempts will be made to hold Russia accountable for its ruthless and hostile behavior. “I think we can ultimately hope for a predictable and stable relationship with Russia,” said Blinken.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited cyber attacks, the extensive armaments efforts and disinformation and attempts to influence elections as dangers coming from Russia, among other things. The allies agree that the common deterrent and defense should be further reviewed and adjusted, he said.

Attempts to resume talks in the NATO-Russia Council had failed several times recently. One reason is that Russia no longer wants to talk about the Ukrainian conflict in this form, which in turn, especially the eastern NATO states, does not want to accept as a condition for new talks. Maas indirectly supported this position on Wednesday. The ball is in the Moscow field, he said.

The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 to closely involve Moscow in the work of the transatlantic military alliance and to build trust among its former adversaries. At the ambassadorial level, the NATO-Russia Council would meet once a month. However, due to the conflict in Ukraine, the dialogue came to a complete halt between June 2014 and April 2016. This was only followed by beats at irregular intervals.

At the end of a two-day meeting in Brussels, the foreign ministers of the 30 NATO countries discussed how to deal with Russia. Specifically, it was about the question of how the aggressive behavior of the country can be stopped from an alliance perspective.

In recent years, NATO has relied on a combination of increased deterrence and dialogue to induce Russia to change course politically. However, this has not produced tangible results so far.