WASHINGTON: Ahead of a crucial meeting between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia on Wednesday, the United States stepped up engagement with its European allies.
Washington has made it clear that Moscow’s proposal to reduce NATO’s engagement, activities and expansion in the East does not make sense; and he reiterated his warning that any Russian aggression in Ukraine will entail “high costs”.
Wednesday’s meeting is the second in a series of three dialogues between the United States and Russia in different contexts this week, even as tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent days over the military build-up of the United States. Russia along the border with Ukraine.
On Monday, US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met her Russian counterpart, Sergei Ryabkov, in Geneva as part of a strategic stability dialogue, focusing on bilateral issues between the two countries.
Brussels will host the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday. And on Thursday, permanent representatives of the 57-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which the United States and Russia are members, will meet in Vienna to discuss European security.
On Tuesday, Sherman met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and then ambassadors from the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee in Brussels. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “The meeting underscored the US commitment to work closely with the EU and its member states to jointly address this urgent challenge. They affirmed the unwavering support of the United States and the EU for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Deputy Secretary thanked the committee for its work in ensuring that any further Russian military invasion of Ukraine would entail significant costs, including coordinated economic measures, for the Russian Federation.
From Geneva, after his meeting, Sherman told reporters: “We were firm … We will not allow anyone to slam the closure of NATO’s open door policy, which has always been at the heart of the NATO alliance. NATO. We will not give up bilateral cooperation with sovereign states that wish to work with the United States. And we will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, Europe without Europe, or NATO without NATO. As we say to our allies and partners, “nothing about you without you”.
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These meetings take place following a Russian proposal in mid-December, by which it launched two draft treaties, one with the United States and the other with NATO. In its proposal for a new treaty with the United States on security guarantees, the Russian project stipulates that the United States must “undertake to prevent further eastward expansion” of NATO and “refuse joining the alliance ”to the states of the former Soviet Union. Socialist republics (USSR).
Its second draft treaty seeks to effectively restore NATO’s borders to their pre-1997 status, declaring that Russia and all parties that were NATO member states on May 27, 1997 “shall not deploy military and arms forces in the territory of none of the other European states ”. The draft also calls “on all NATO member states to commit to refraining from any further NATO enlargement, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other states.”
In a separate briefing on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said in all of their consultations and prior meetings with allies it had become “crystal clear” that no ally within the NATO alliance was unwilling to budge or negotiate. anything regarding NATO’s open door policy.
Asked about Russia’s request to restore NATO’s 1997 status, Smith said, “Well, I think when you talk to NATO allies one thing becomes clear in terms of the consensus around. the table, and is that this alliance is not going back and going back to a completely different time where we had a very different alliance that was smaller and a very different footprint. I think we operate in today’s world with NATO as it is today, and I don’t think anyone in the NATO alliance is interested in going back in time to revisit a time when NATO was very different from what it is today. “