The first meeting since 2019 between high-level delegations from NATO and Russia on security guarantees in Europe as part of the NATO-Russia Council will take place at NATO headquarters in Brussels today, on January 12.
The meeting comes after the US-Russia talks in Geneva which were held on Monday, January 10. The US side promised to provide Russia with a written response to the security guarantees proposals next week, according to Sputnik‘s source close to the Geneva talks.
“The Americans promised to report on the results of the Geneva [meeting] to the leadership and provide us with a written response next week,” the source reported adding that Russia needs a concrete response to its concerns.
Today’s meeting will be a chance to discuss the issues of arms control, European security, and military transparency. The council will be chaired by Jens Stoltenberg, the US delegation will be headed by Deputy Secretary of Defence Wendy Sherman, and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov will lead the Russian delegation.
As reminded, in December 2021, Russia presented draft agreements on security guarantees in Europe to the US and NATO. These guarantees include legal obligations that NATO will refrain from advancing eastwards and accepting new members from the former Soviet Union. Another proposal is the non-deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles in the region.
After Monday’s meeting, NATO has already responded to some proposals, stating that Moscow cannot dictate whether Ukraine or other countries can join the bloc, and said that it was not ready to discuss such issues without Kiev. The US also reiterated that decision, saying that it will not allow NATO’s “Open Door” policy to be slammed shut. However, the US expressed their assurance that a compromise on offensive missiles can be found with Moscow.
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has called on the US to abandon aggressive rhetoric against Russia and move NATO forces away from the Russian borders.
“It’s time to abandon the aggressive rhetoric of foreign expansion and think about how future generations will live together. You need to do very little for it – respect your neighbour, avoid threats and move your military potential away from the Russian borders,” Antonov said adding that Russia “will not allow the developments that would undermine the independence and sovereignty” of the country.
Also, Russia has stated that the upcoming council will show whether consultations with NATO are substantial and whether this practise shall continue. The NATO-Russia Council will be followed by consultations with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna on Thursday, January 13, 2022.