The relations between Russia and NATO need a ‘joint review’ of approaches to countering present-day threats, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS on Friday.
“In my view, three sessions of the Russia-NATO Council held last year after an almost two-year break can be considered as an exit ‘from a serious and long drawn-out disease’ and a stage-by-stage return to the Council’s really constructive and depoliticized work,” the high-ranking Russian diplomat said.
This year will mark 15 years since Russia and the NATO member states signed a Declaration, “NATO-Russia Relations: a New Quality,” in Rome on May 28, 2002, Meshkov said.
Over all this time, the Russia-NATO Council “has kept its significance as an ‘all-weather dialog venue for discussing the essential issues of Euro-Atlantic security concerning the interests of Russia and NATO,” the high-placed diplomat said.
“Work within this format should be continued precisely in this tone,” he added.
“I believe that 15 years of the Declaration could become a good cause for resetting Russia-NATO relations and for ‘jointly reviewing’ approaches to countering today’s threats,” he said.
“This is also prompted by the logic of recent tragic developments that include the unprecedented murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov and a wave of terrorist acts in Europe and in the Middle East,” the deputy foreign minister said.
All these factors speak about the need to pull together the resources and efforts of all responsible international players in countering real threats and challenges of contemporaneity, Meshkov said.
Meanwhile, “artificial breaks in the work of the Russia-NATO Council, to say nothing about the ‘freeze,’ inevitably create additional risks for European security and, consequently, for the alliance’s members themselves,” the high-ranking diplomat said.
“It is perfectly obvious that normalization of Russia-NATO relations is possible upon the availability of both the political and military components,” he said.
“However, the resumption of military contacts and a military dialog are realizable only if the alliance is ready to take into account Russia’s proposals in the sphere of normalizing the relations, and also if it gets away from the stance of formally keeping the appearance of a dialog with our country,” the Russian deputy foreign minister said.
“As life itself shows, further attempts by the alliance to ignore this fact adversely affect the security of all the states of the Euro-Atlantic region in the final account,” Meshkov said.