NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the value of political dialogue following the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday (13 July 2016). “Today we had very useful discussions. We addressed some of the most important issues on the Euro-Atlantic security agenda. This shows the value of the NATO-Russia Council,” he said.
The NATO-Russia Council discussed the crisis in and around Ukraine and the need to fully implement the Minsk agreements. NATO Allies made clear that they stand united in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “All signatories to the Minsk agreements have to stick to their commitments, and Russia has a significant responsibility in this regard,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He stressed that Russia’s actions in Ukraine have undermined Euro-Atlantic security, as well as NATO-Russia relations. He added that a settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine by peaceful means would contribute to an overall improvement in the relations between NATO and Russia.
Transparency and risk reduction was also a topic of discussion. NATO briefed Russia on Warsaw Summit decisions, and Russia briefed NATO Allies on their analysis and the steps they are taking. The Russian delegation also raised a proposal on air safety in the Baltic Sea. “I welcome that Russia has signalled that it wants to pursue risk reduction measures,” said the Secretary General.
The security situation in Afghanistan was also discussed. Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted NATO's decisions at the Warsaw Summit – to sustain the Alliance’s military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016 with current troop levels and to continue funding for the Afghan security forces until 2020.
The NATO Secretary General underlined that the NATO-Russia Council remains an important forum for dialogue. “There was not a meeting of the minds today. But it was an important opportunity to clarify our positions to each other,” he said.