NATO chief dispels notion of 'new Cold War' with Russia
NATO does not aim to have an escalation with Russia despite the alliance’s steps to strengthen its collective defense in member states, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
In remarks made at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Stoltenberg said: "NATO does not seek confrontation. We do not want a new Cold War. At the same time our response has to be firm."
The annual security conference in the southern German city of Munich has brought together nearly 30 heads of states and 60 defense and foreign ministers.
During a discussion on international crises, Stoltenberg criticized Russia for its annexation of Crimea. He accused Moscow of pursuing a more assertive policy in the region, with destabilizing effect on the European security order.
He said NATO would continue to boost military capabilities in response to Russia’s recent actions to strengthen deterrence and defense.
"NATO is undertaking the biggest strengthening of our collective defense in decades. To send a powerful signal to deter any aggression or intimidation. Not to wage war, but to prevent war,” he said.
Last week, NATO defense ministers agreed to enhance the alliance’s presence in member states in eastern Europe.
Stoltenberg recalled that NATO suspended its military cooperation with Moscow two years ago, in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but said the alliance does not intend to suspend its dialogue with Moscow.
"Dialogue is important to increase transparency and predictability, and to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents. And if they do happen, to avoid escalation between our forces. The downing of the Russian fighter plane over Turkey underlines how urgent this is,” he said.
Stoltenberg said he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Munich on Friday and agreed to explore the possibility for convening a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
"Political engagement does not mean a return to business as usual,” he said.
"We are in a new reality with Russia. But we do need a constructive dialogue. And that begins when we stop talking past each other, and start talking with each other,” he added.
Last Modified: 2016-02-13 14:17:14
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