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Moscow chides NATO for retreating to policy of deterrence, blocking cooperation

Today cooperation was frozen almost completely at NATO’s initiative, Russia's NATO envoy stressed

MINSK, November 1. /TASS/. The policy of deterrence, which NATO is conducting against Russia, hampers normal cooperation between the parties, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko on the sidelines of the Core Group Meeting of the Munich Security Conference, which Minsk is hosting.

"The problem of our relationship with NATO is that NATO is sliding back to its 1949 disposition - to a policy of deterrence in its relations with our country. So, there can be no normal cooperation under these conditions, since cooperation is possible when the parties do not regard each other as enemies, but presume that there are objective spheres of common interests," the senior diplomat explained.

In his opinion, these principles "were laid down in the work of the Russia-NATO Council, which was intended to jointly observe the security level and pinpoint risks." "If any joint coordinated actions were needed, such actions were carried out," Grushko noted.

In particular, he pointed to "certain successes in the war on terror" that had been achieved. "The biggest program to shut down drug trafficking out of Afghanistan - which is not just a European problem, but a global one - was also put into action within the Russia-NATO Council. We trained 4,000 employees for the anti-narcotics services of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian countries," the Russian deputy foreign minister noted.

A system to exchange information in real time was also created "for aircraft not obeying commands from on the ground, that is those that could be hijacked by terrorists," he pointed out. "Today cooperation was frozen almost completely at NATO’s initiative. NATO shifted to a scheme of deterring Russia," Grushko stated.

"The alliance’s administration and many NATO state leaders are constantly talking about the need for de-escalation, stopping dangerous military incidents and avoiding situations in which there is a risk of miscalculating each other’s military intentions. However, they are doing absolutely nothing to restore military contacts," the diplomat stressed. "It is impossible to discuss these problems without normal dialogue at a working level daily in Brussels or elsewhere." He highlighted that "if NATO is truly interested in what it professes politically, then it should be backed by real moves toward the restoration of normal cooperation and dialogue between the militaries."

Russia-NATO relationship

In 2014, the alliance froze its political dialogue with Russia almost completely. Beforehand, ambassador meetings of the Russia-NATO Council had been held several times a month on a variety of issues. There were two meetings this year (the last one was held on October 31. Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO Yuri Gorlach represented Moscow).