Blinken and Stoltenberg called for firmness and realism in engaging with Russia

Blinken and Stoltenberg called for firmness and realism in engaging with Russia

Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Alliance spoke for the resumption of the work of the Russia-NATO Commission

The West must work with Russia to advance mutual interests while maintaining a realistic view of it, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Wednesday at a NATO ministerial meeting.

Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Moscow to resume the NATO-Russia Council dialogue, which was established in 2002 but has not met since 2019. Stoltenberg said that in the interest of reducing risks, even in difficult relationships, work needs to be done.

Blinken called for a firm common position in Russia.

“I think ultimately we can hope that relations with Russia will be at least predictable and stable,” he said at a press conference in Brussels.

“Even while working with Russia to advance our interests and the interests of the alliance, we will also make efforts to hold Russia accountable for its reckless and hostile actions,” he added.

Stoltenberg stressed: “Dialogue is important. Especially in difficult times like now, it is important to sit down and discuss difficult issues. ”

“Even in the absence of any improvement in relations between NATO members and Russia, I believe that we should at least work on a difficult relationship – in matters of transparency, risk reduction, as well as solving the problem of arms control,” the NATO head said, adding that Moscow should accept NATO’s invitation.

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NATO’s policy towards Russia is based on a two-pronged approach of containment and dialogue, although the alliance suspended all practical cooperation with Moscow in April 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.

The NATO-Russia Council was revived in 2016 and met regularly until 2019. However, at the moment, relations between Russia and the West are in a strained state due to disagreements on various issues, from Ukraine to accusations of interference in the US elections and the conflict in Syria.