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BRUSSELS, December 5. /TASS/. NATO "continues to strive for more constructive relations with Russia,", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Monday ahead of NATO countries’ foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled for December 6-7.
Meanwhile, a date for the new Russia-NATO Council meeting has not been set yet.
"We continue to strive for more constructive relationship with Russia and we strongly believe that in times when tensions run high it is even more important to have dialogue, to have a chance for political dialogue open and we continue to pursue our dual-track approach with strong defense combined with dialogue and political communication with Russia," Stoltenberg said.
He pointed out that two meetings of the NATO-Russia Council had been held so far this year adding that NATO was exploring with the Russian counterparts when the next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council would take place and what would be discussed.
Stoltenberg went on to say that "the alliance looks forward to continue the important work of the NATO-Russia Council including addressing risk reduction and transparency because with more military activity and with high tensions it’s even more important to have transparency and to have mechanisms to avoid incidents and accidents like the downing of a Russian plane over Turkey last year."
When talking about Russia’s initiative to introduce a rule requiring all military aircraft to fly over the Baltic Sea with their transponders on, the NATO Secretary General said :
"We are in dialogue with Russia also on issues related to the Baltic Sea. I would like to underline that air safety is not only about transponders and technical measures but it is also about airmanship and responsible behavior and one of the reasons why we are exploring the possibility for a new meeting of the NATO-Russia Council is exactly to take that dialogue forward with Russia on risk reduction and transparency related to military activities."
Before Moscow came out with the new initiative, Stoltenberg had been pointing to the Russian military planes’ flights over the Baltic Sea with their transponders off not mentioning that NATO aircraft did not turn their transponders on either.