NATO’s Stoltenberg stresses importance of dialogue on contradictory issues with Russia

NATO and Russia should keep up dialogue on the problems that cause contradictions between them, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, TASS reports.

He addressed reporters after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich conference on European security. "I will say that there are well known positions from both NATO and Russia but I think it’s useful to have dialogue also on issues where we have different views, like for instance Ukraine," Stoltenberg said. "To update and to exchange views."

"(…) as you know what NATO has decided, and that includes the US, is to suspend all practical cooperation with Russia as a reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014," Stoltenberg said. He used the terms NATO and Western official quarters apply to the events of March 2014 when the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol severed administrative relations with Ukraine and reunited with Russia pending a massive vote in favor of reunification in a regional referendum.

"That decision (to suspend cooperation) still stands," Stoltenberg said. "But we have underlined that the suspension of practical cooperation does not mean that we suspend political dialogue."

" (…) we are strengthening our political dialogue with Russia, on a wide range of issues, Ukraine, military transparency, Afghanistan and today we discussed Libya and Syria and we are also looking into how we can strengthen our military alliance of communications," Stoltenberg said.

"So there is room for dialogue and for engagement with Russia even though we continue to suspend our practical cooperation," he said.

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