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Russia does not evade discussing arms control in Europe — diplomat

September 02, 2016, 16:07 UTC+3

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says the previous negotiating process on arms control in Europe under the OSCE auspices was interrupted not through Russia’s fault

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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

BERLIN, September 2. /TASS/. Russia has never evaded the discussion of the issue of arms control in Europe, however, it is important for it to see other countries’ reaction to proposals of this kind, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov said in an exclusive interview to TASS on Friday, commenting on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s initiative to launch discussions on this problem within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"We have carefully examined his (Steinmeier’s) article, we are studying it," he said. "It was not Russia that disrupted the negotiating process on control over conventional arms in Europe under the OSCE auspices. Therefore, it is, of course, of principal importance for us to see the reaction of the countries that disrupted this process," the diplomat said.

Situation changed

"As for our country, we have never evaded a conversation on this issue," the diplomat said. "But certainly, the situation today has considerably changed even compared to the moment when the dialogue on the so-called CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty regime) was interrupted."

Meshkov said that this had "undermined the trust, and it was undermined, above all, by the NATO actions on the eastern borders of Europe, where the absolutely unprovoked military presence buildup is underway." "Let alone the beginning of the missile defense system deployment," he added.

"All this, quite obviously, is targeted against Russia, and the NATO strategists event do not hide that, when they prioritize in relations with us the thesis of containing Russia, and only then, pattering, speak of the dialogue," Meshkov said.

Proposals must be studied

Russia, he said, has itself put forward initiatives on this issue. "At a recent meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), our representatives proposed a set of priority measures for the resumption of dialogue between the military, including proposals to reduce tension in the Baltic region, reach an agreement on aircraft flights in that region with switched on transponders," he said.

"So, any proposals that are made for normalizing the dialogue should, at least, be thoroughly studied," he said.

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