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Stoltenberg wants NATO relations with Russia to be 'frank and open'

"We need defense and dialogue, not defense or dialogue," Stoltenberg pointed out

BRUSSELS, December 6. /TASS/. The North Atlantic Alliance calls for any toning down of aggressive rhetoric in relations with Moscow, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, commenting on Russia’s new foreign policy concept.

"I welcome any toning down of the rhetoric because I think words matter and the less aggressive rhetoric can be a first step towards also a better dialogue. At the same time, words matter, but of course deeds matter even more. So, therefore the important thing is what we see, what kind of actions we see from the Russian side," Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said in relations with Russia NATO will continue to "pursue dual-track approach" based on strength, deterrence and collective defense combined with dialogue, with keeping the chance for political dialogue open with Russia.

"We need defense and dialogue, not defense or dialogue," he stressed.

"We welcome anything that can improve the conditions for a dialogue with Russia. We believe that especially when tensions run high, it is particularly important to have dialogue and communications. We don’t want a new Cold War and confrontation with Russia."

Although at the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council the sides often disagree with each other, it is important to "have a frank and open discussion" on different issues, he said.

Besides Ukraine, it is important for NATO to discuss with Russia the issues of transparency of military activity in Europe, the mechanisms of notifying about and inspecting military exercises and the tools of avoiding incidents and accidents.