A week before the NATO summit in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Russia for a meeting. "I would like to invite Russia again to take part in a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council as soon as possible," Stoltenberg told the newspaper Welt. "We have a lot to discuss that is in the common interest of NATO and Russia." NATO had invited the Russian government to a new meeting more than a year ago, but there was no positive answer. "The ball is now with Russia."

The NATO-Russia Council was founded in 2002 to involve Moscow in the work of the transatlantic military alliance and to build trust between its former opponents.

At ambassador level, the NATO-Russia Council is supposed to meet once a month.

Due to the conflict in Ukraine, however, the dialogue was completely on hold between June 2014 and April 2016.

After that, meetings only followed at irregular intervals.

Russia doesn't want to talk about Ukraine

Efforts to resume talks in the NATO-Russia Council had recently failed several times.

One reason is that Russia no longer wants to talk about the Ukraine conflict in this format, which Eastern NATO countries in particular do not want to accept.

Stoltenberg told the newspaper that the NATO-Russia Council had not met for 19 months.

There are several specific topics: “This includes, for example, the mutual exchange of military maneuvers to prevent misunderstandings and possible escalation.” Another topic is “sufficient transparency” about the military activities of the other side, about unintentional accidents in the air and on Avoid lake.

Stoltenberg: Relationships at rock bottom

"Relations between NATO and Russia have now reached a low point that we have not known since the end of the Cold War," said Stoltenberg.

“Dialogue is the best way to address tensions.” The NATO-Russia Council is the appropriate format for this.

"Both sides are sitting at the same table."

Stoltenberg meets US President Joe Biden in the White House this Monday.

Among other things, it will be about the NATO summit in Brussels in a week, in which Biden will take part as President during his first trip abroad.

In recent years, NATO has relied on a mixture of increased deterrence and dialogue in order to induce Russia to change course politically.

So far, however, this has not brought any tangible results.

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