(Moscow) The Russian Foreign Minister said, on Monday, that discussions between the United States and Russia over the latter’s demands for guarantees from the West that NATO will not integrate Ukraine into its ranks will resume as soon as the holiday season ends.
“With the United States we will conduct the main work of the negotiations that will begin immediately after the New Year celebrations,” Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Monday. In Russia, New Year’s celebrations last ten days, until January 9.
Earlier this month, Moscow submitted a security discussion paper to NATO. Russia in particular is asking the Western allies to abandon the incorporation of Ukraine or any other country resulting from the former USSR. It also wants NATO to withdraw its forces to Central and Eastern Europe.
Washington and its allies refused to make such promises, but agreed to enter into negotiations.
Among its demands, Moscow also drafted a proposal to sign a Russian-American security pact as well as a security pact with NATO.
The talks come amid heightened tensions as Russian forces continue to deploy near the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.
Moscow has denied any intention to invade its neighbour, but demands legal guarantees that would prevent NATO from expanding into Ukraine or deploying military equipment there.
For Minister Lavrov, it is important “that our proposals do not turn into endless negotiations about which the West is known. There must be a result of all these diplomatic efforts.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on January 12, a NATO representative confirmed last Saturday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Monday that the meeting would take place. He described the meeting as “important,” but said the details needed to be worked out and the date could change.
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