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Putin’s proposals for New START allow for mutually acceptable solutions, says Lavrov

Russia is concerned about NATO military buildup in eastern Mediterranean, the top diplomat said

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposals for maintaining strategic stability and prolonging the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty) create opportunities for the joint search for constructive solutions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a joint news conference following talks with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias on Wednesday.

"We shared our opinion of the situation in the field of strategic stability, in the first place, in the context of relations between Russia and the United States after Washington terminated the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty," he said. "Putin sent detailed messages concerning these problems and the outlook for prolonging the New START to many world leaders, including the United States and other NATO members. We hope that this will make it possible to constructively consider the current situation and find mutually acceptable ways of overcoming it."

Lavrov stated that the two sides "held a constructive discussion of crucial issues on the regional and global agenda and agreed to support and expand their dialogue in the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), where Greece holds the rotating presidency at the moment."

There was an exchange of opinion "on the current condition and prospects of relations between Russia and the European Union, the situation in the Russia-NATO Council and a number of issues concerning security in the eastern Mediterranean and the developments in the Middle East and northern Africa, including those on the Syrian track.

"Of special value to us is our Greek counterparts’ vision of the Cyprus settlement situation," Lavrov said. "In turn we confirmed Russia’s support for a comprehensive, fair, lasting and viable solution of this problem on the basis of the UN Security Council’s resolution."

NATO military buildup in eastern Mediterranean

Moscow is concerned about the actions by NATO member-countries, including the United States, to build up military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which are clearly anti-Russian, the top diplomat revealed.

"We are concerned about what is going on in the Eastern Mediterranean, in no small measure, about the United States’ and NATO’s actions aimed at building up their military presence in that region with a clear anti-Russian intention," he said.

Lavrov pointed to the need for the countries in the region to formulate their stance relying on their own national security interests and legitimate desire to cultivate ties with all partners, including Russia.

He also commented on Turkey’s geological exploration off the coast of Cyprus. He noted that "Russia calls on all parties concerned, including Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt, to resolve these issues through negotiations and mutually acceptable agreements within the framework of the norms established by the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea."

Cyprus earlier accused Turkey of violating its sovereignty after Ankara dispatched a drilling vessel to Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone where large deposits of natural gas had been discovered. For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Ankara was ready to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots to the offshore deposits, even if it means utilizing the armed forces.