NATO won’t partake in Moscow conference, prefers Russia-NATO Council format — Stoltenberg

BRUSSELS (TASS): NATO prefers to carry out dialogue with Russia at the existing platforms and within the negotiated formats, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday, answering a question from TASS regarding the alliance’s refusal to come to the June 22-24 security conference in Moscow.

“We are ready to continue a meaningful dialogue with Russia, but it is important for us to use the channels and platforms that we have agreed [upon] for dialogue to conduct this dialogue, to ensure that we have a meaningful dialogue, and also to ensure that we have a format for this dialogue that we all know works. Therefore, we have invited [Russia] and taken the initiative to convene a new meeting of the NATO-Russia Council,” he said.

“So far, Russia has not responded positively, but there is an ongoing dialogue between NATO and Russia, and I really, really hope that, within not too distant a future, we would be able to convene the NATO-Russia Council again, because that is the platform for a NATO-Russia dialogue,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that NATO rejected Russia’s invitation to participate in the Moscow international security conference on June 22-24.

The diplomat pointed out that NATO reacts to every Russian proposal for cooperation with an immediate statement that seeks to debunk Moscow’s position. According to Zakharova, the NATO Secretary General does everything from the informational standpoint to make the public believe that Russia does not react to NATO’s desire for cooperation.

“He does everything so that our response simply drowns in this repetition of the same things,” Zakharova added. The spokeswoman underscored that Russia is ready for a dialogue with the alliance, but a convention of the Russia-NATO Council would only be meaningful if the discussion will cover specific topics, aimed at the reduction of military tensions.