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Lavrov Considers Russia-NATO Relations Are Not ‘Catastrophic’—There Are No Russia-NATO Relations

Oct. 27, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Norway Oct. 25-26, to meet with officials of the Labor government that took office in Oslo earlier this month and to participate in the Barents and Euro-Arctic Council, which met Oct. 26 in Tromsø in northern Norway. During a brief press conference on Oct. 25, following a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt, Lavrov said that Russia-Norway bilateral relations are respectful, but Norway is also a member of NATO “which is no friend of Russia.”

NATO, Lavrov said, “decided that they don’t want to be friendly, they decided that they don’t want to have the Founding Act between NATO and Russia to be the basis of our relations. They called Russia, and now China, and, actually, Russia and China together, a threat to NATO. NATO is looking for the meaning of its future existence.”

In response to a question in which the reporter characterized Russia-NATO relations as “catastrophic,” Lavrov said that “I wouldn’t say they are catastrophic. To be catastrophic, you need to have some relations. We don’t have any relations with NATO.”

At the same time that Lavrov was in Tromsø, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was in Helsinki with the entire North Atlantic Council, opening the door to Finnish membership in NATO. When asked about that prospect and NATO’s relationship with Finland, Stoltenberg said during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, that “in a more competitive world, more challenging security environment, just makes it even more important for NATO to work with our closest partners, the enhanced opportunity partners—Finland is one of them—is something we highly value, it’s extremely important.”

As for the potential of Finnish membership in the alliance “I also expect that of course it will be stated” in NATO’s new strategic concept now under development “that NATO’s door remains open. NATO enlargement has been a great success; it has helped to spread democracy, stability, peace throughout Europe.” Finland is already “very close to NATO,” Stoltenberg said, because of the high interoperability of its forces with those of the alliance.

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