The phone conversation held between US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “very normal thing,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
“It is a very normal thing that President-elect Donald Trump speaks to leaders, including of course the leader of Russia,” Stoltenberg said ahead of talks with EU defense ministers in Brussels.
Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic alliance plans to “hold a new meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future,” but gave no details on the date.
“The message from NATO has been that we want dialogue with Russia. Russia is our biggest neighbor, Russia is there to stay and especially when tensions run high and especially when we face many different security challenges, it is important to have dialogue,” he said.
NATO sees no contradiction “between strong defense and political dialogue,” Stoltenberg said. The alliance continues supporting territorial integrity of Ukraine and will never recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia, he added.
On Monday, Trump and Putin held a phone conversation. The Kremlin press service said the Russian leader congratulated Trump on his victory in the presidential election and “noted readiness to build partner dialogue with the new administration on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference into each other’s domestic affairs.”.