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NATO-Russia Council To Meet in Next Two Weeks, NATO Secretary-General Announces

April 8, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a press release issued in Brussels today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that "following consultations with Russia, we have agreed to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the Ambassadorial level." This will be the first meeting of the Council since 2014.

The meeting is to take place in the next two weeks, and "will discuss the crisis in and around Ukraine and the need to fully implement the Minsk Agreements." In addition, "military activities, with particular focus on transparency and risk reduction," will be discussed, as well as "addressing the security situation in Afghanistan, including regional terrorist threats."

While the press release emphasizes that the upcoming meeting is a "continuation of our political dialogue, as agreed by NATO heads of State and government," it warns that "at the same time there will be no return to business as usual until Russia again respects international law." NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia, the statement explains, "in response to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. This decision stands."

However, it points out that NATO has "kept channels of political dialogue and military communications open," and that the NATO Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, as well as other senior NATO officials, "regularly meet with senior Russian officials." Jens Stoltenberg met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at the Feb. 2016 Munich Security Conference, and the Deputy Secretary General has met several times with Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, "in recent months and weeks."

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