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ASTANA, July 13. /TASS/. The conversation at Wednesday’s NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting should be responsible, and not aimed at scoring propagandist points, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"We want to understand the explanation of NATO’s decisions taken at the Warsaw summit," he said. "What we heard in the public comments, of course, does not make us happy. A desire to preserve the artificially created enemy image [of Russia - TASS] to demand the unity of its ranks and consolidate its position on this basis prevails in NATO."
"As for long-term nature of relations with NATO, then it was not our initiative to break military cooperation in the fight against terrorism," the minister said. "We also did not initiate the freezing of all interaction in supporting the security forces of Afghanistan to help them more effectively fight against the Islamic State [terrorist organization outlawed in Russia - TASS] and other radicals."
According to the diplomat, NATO representatives said that they agreed to hold the NRC meeting, "displaying goodwill." "We didn’t ask anybody. If they froze the mechanism, so they should take the steps," the Russian foreign minister said. "The Alliance requested that we hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, and we agreed, because we never evade dialogue," Lavrov said.
He expressed the hope that the NRC meeting participants wouldhave not a PR stunt, but "a really responsible conversation, not aimed at scoring propagandist points." "The conversation should correspond to the seriousness of the situation, developing as a result of the NATO policy in the sphere of military-political security on the European continent," Lavrov said.
The minister has stressed that NATO’s policy led to alienation on the European continent and Russia hoped that this course would change.
Rejection of regular dialogue
The minister also said that because of the position taken by the Russophobic minority, the proposal to hold regular meetings of the NATO-Russia Council was blocked. "We know that reputable, leading NATO countries, primarily European, have advocated within the Alliance framework for regular contacts within NRC, as it was in the past," the foreign minister said. "But that same minority, which received some enormous pleasure from the Russophobic positions, has categorically blocked the proposal. They said: let’s gather once, and then we'll see."
According to Lavrov, this gives an impression that "they are playing some sort of their own game and do not understand what's going on." "And what’s happening is a real alienation within the European continent," Lavrov said. "I really hope that this policy is clear to the respectable politicians in Europe and the United States, and that they will be able to change that course and will rely on the agreements that have been fixed within the OSCE framework and within the framework of the Founding Act, which was signed between Russia and NATO."
"We are ready for this, let's see how responsibly and seriously they approach the situation in Europe", said the Russian foreign minister.
The NATO-Russia Council meeting at the ambassadorial level has started in Brussels on Wednesday.
NATO froze all practical cooperation with the Russian Federation in April 2014 - after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The operation of the NATO-Russia Council was preserved to maintain political dialogue channels open. The current meeting of the Council will become the third after the cooperation freeze. The Council’s first meeting was held June 2, 2014, its second on April 20, 2016.
Contacts between Russia and NATO continued in other formats too. On June 17, 2014, NATO’s Headquarters in Brussels held a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) meeting at the level of permanent representatives; on May 19, 2015, the Belgian capital hosted a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the NATO secretary-general. Later Lavrov and Stoltenberg met twice - on September 29, 2015 in New York and on February 12, 2016 in Munich.