Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NATO Seeks Dialogue With Russia ‘Based on Transparency’ - Stoltenberg

NATO country flags wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels

© AP Photo/ Geert Vanden Wijngaert

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO wants to avoid deterioration of relations with Russia. However, his statement sounds a little peculiar, taking into account the increase of its military presence in the Baltic Sea region.

During his two-day visit to Stockholm, Stoltenberg said that the military alliance wants to avoid further confrontation with Russia and seeks cooperation. The statement looks a little bit ridiculous given the heavy military presence of NATO forces in the Baltic States.  However, Stoltenberg does not seem confused by this fact and does not see any contradiction between political dialogue and demonstration of power.
"We are committed to cooperation and dialogue with Russia, but that cooperation should be based on the transparency of military activities to avoid accidents and dangerous situations; there is no contradiction between a strong defense and political dialogue," Stoltenberg told the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
According to Stoltenberg, NATO increased its presence in the Baltic region as a response to Russia's alleged provocative activities.
"This is a reaction to what we see on the part of Russia. But we want to avoid escalation, a new Cold War, confrontation. Therefore, we always send the message to Russia that we want cooperation, but this cooperation must be based on respect," Stoltenberg said.
NATO has been ramping up its operations in the Baltic States as well as in Eastern Europe since the Ukraine crisis began. According to various reports, it is considering different ways of increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe to put further pressure on Russia.

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