MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. Resumption of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) work can help the sides to overcome the differences through dialogue, member of the Defense Committee at the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, Colonel General Viktor Zavarzin, Russia’s former Russian military representative to NATO, told TASS on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg put forward a proposal to convene a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of permanent representatives. Moscow is ready to hold such a meeting - Russia has a lot of questions to the alliance, said the minister. "I’ve just learned that NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has suggested convening a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council," Lavrov said. "Russia has never refused to work in this format or any other formats." Lavrov recalled that "after Mikhail Saakashvili’s aggression in South Ossetia the Russia-NATO Council was frozen at the United States’ initiative." "Once Mr. Stoltenberg has now been allowed to display such an initiative, we will get together and see what our NATO counterparts would like to tell us," Lavrov said. "We have very many questions to NATO, including those about the violations of the agreements that had existed within the Russia-NATO Council. There is a subject matter for discussion."
"The resumption of the NATO-Russia Council work can contribute to overcoming differences through dialogue and practical cooperation between Russia and the Alliance," Zavarzin said. "Perhaps this is the format we need now, because we have had no channel of communication for long", he added.
Meanwhile, today there is a "sufficient number of unanswered questions" and "more often we have situations that are close to incidents," the politician said. "At a time when the entire international community is facing fundamentally new threats and challenges, it is important to continue and expand all possible channels of communication and build a solid foundation of mutual interest in solving the common problems of international security", the Russian lawmaker said.
The NATO-Russia council, which was launched in 2002, suspended all operations in April 2014 over NATO's allegations of Moscow' involvement in the Ukrainian crisis - a claim that Moscow had repeatedly denied.