: NATO to boost eastern flank but still seeks dialogue with Russia

13:46 Jul. 8, 2016

NATO to boost eastern flank but still seeks dialogue with Russia

NATO Secetary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives at the PGE National Stadium, site of the NATO summit, on July 8, 2016 in Warsaw, Poland. NATO member heads of state and defense ministers are gathering for a two-day summit beginning later today. (Getty Image

Stoltenberg on negotiations with Kremlin, lessons of Cold War and Alliance's role in global security

NATO will seek constructive dialogue with Russia and does not want a repeat of the Cold War, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on July 8, before the Alliance's heads meet to rubber-stamp a strengthening of NATO's eastern flank at the Warsaw summit.

"NATO does not seek confrontation. We do not want a new Cold War. The Cold War is history. And it should remain history," Stoltenberg said, addressing Russia's protestations over rotating NATO battalions through ex-communist Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Read also NATO-Russia Council to take place shortly after the Warsaw Summit

"We will continue to seek constructive and meaningful dialogue with Russia. To make our intentions clear. To dispel any misunderstandings. And to reduce the risk of military incidents or accidents spiraling out of control," Stoltenberg reiterated.

"Russia is our biggest neighbor and an integral part of European security. So sustaining dialogue is essential. That is why we established the NATO-Russia Council, as an all-weather forum for dialogue. So it is especially important that we use this tool now," he added.

Stoltenberg said he was certain a British vote to leave the European Union would not weaken Europe's NATO ties with the United States and that London would remain a "strong and committed" member of the Western military alliance.

Read also NATO support for Ukraine comes to a new level

"While Brexit will change the UK's relationship with the EU, it will not change the UK's leading position within NATO. Unity and cooperation between NATO and the EU remains as important as ever. In these times of uncertainty, our partnership is increasingly essential," Stoltenberg commented on the British vote to withdraw from the EU.

Reporting by Reuters


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