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Russia’s proposal for freeze on INF in Europe to benefit whole region — diplomat

This measure would meet the interests of all countries, Alexander Grushko pointed out

BRUSSELS, January 12. /TASS/. Russia’s proposal for the Western countries’ reciprocal moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter-range missiles in Europe would benefit all countries in the region, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told a news conference following a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council on Wednesday.

"Our position was reflected in the Russian president’s proposal for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe that followed the United States’ decision to quit the INF treaty. We are deeply convinced that this would meet the interests of all countries - not only Russia, but the European states as well," Grushko said.

He pointed out that Russia did not wish to see a rerun of 1979, when the two sides were very close to a serious missile conflict in Europe.

"I believe that on this issue Europe should declare its stance and prevent such a scenario from happening in the current security situation," Grushko said.

The Russia-NATO Council’s meeting was a second round of consultations by Russia and the West on Russia’s proposals for European security. The first stage - talks between Russia and the United States - took place in Geneva on January 10. A third will follow on January 13 on the OSCE platform in Vienna. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko and Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin led the Russian delegation. Taking part in the negotiations on NATO’s side were US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and permanent representatives of the alliance’s 30 member-countries in Brussels.