Brussels- NATO “continues to strive for more constructive relations with Russia,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Monday ahead of NATO countries’ foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled for December 6-7.
“We continue to strive for more constructive relationship with Russia and we strongly believe that in times when tensions run high, it is even more important to have dialogue, to have a chance for political dialogue open and we continue to pursue our dual-track approach with strong defense combined with dialogue and political communication with Russia,” Stoltenberg said.
“We had a very good discussion on our relationship with Russia and there is strong unity and a very clear message from all allies that our approach to Russia should build on the message of defense and dialogue,” Stoltenberg told a press conference.
“The international community must keep pressing Russia to respect its obligations, especially while the security situation in the Eastern Ukraine remains so serious, it is important that economic sanctions be maintained,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
However, he stressed that Russia was playing significant role in the conflict settlement, adding that the West should continue dialogue with Moscow.
He pointed out that two meetings of the NATO-Russia Council had been held so far this year adding that NATO was exploring with the Russian counterparts when the next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council would take place and what would be discussed.
Stoltenberg went on to say that “the alliance looks forward to continue the important work of the NATO-Russia Council including addressing risk reduction and transparency because with more military activity and with high tensions it’s even more important to have transparency and to have mechanisms to avoid incidents and accidents like the downing of a Russian plane over Turkey last year.”
“We are strengthening the transatlantic bond and the vital link between North America and Europe,” Stoltenberg told a news conference with EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini.