Talks with US to start after holidays: Russia

ElephantNewsNetwork5个月前Internationality251
Talks with US to start after holidays: Russia

Talks between Russia and the United States on Moscow’s demand for Western guarantees precluding Nato’s expansion to Ukraine will start immediately after New Year holidays, Russia’s top diplomat announced on Monday.

“It is with the US that we will carry out the main work of negotiations, which will take place immediately after the New Year holidays end,” Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. The holidays in Russia will last till January 9.

Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that Nato deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back the alliance’s military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe. Washington and its allies have refused to provide such pledges, but said they are ready for the talks.

The demands, contained in a proposed Russia-US security treaty and a security agreement between Moscow and Nato, were drafted amid soaring tensions over a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that has stoked fears of a possible invasion.

Russia has denied it has plans to attack its neighbour but pressed for legal guarantees that would rule out Nato expansion and weapons deployment there.

Lavrov said last week that, in addition to talks with the US, Moscow will start talks with Nato, as well as separate negotiations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has decided to convene a meeting of the Nato-Russia Council on January 12, a Nato official said on Saturday, adding that the bloc was in touch with Russia about the meeting.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday confirmed the meeting will take place, calling talks with Nato “important”.

Turkey urged Russia on Monday to drop “one-sided” demands and adopt a more constructive approach. The Nato member has irritated Moscow by supplying combat drones to Ukraine that Russia fears could be used by Kiev in its conflict with separatists in two regions.

Situation at Afghan-Tajik border a concern: Russia

The security situation at the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border is a concern, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, a risk Moscow has sought to mitigate by strengthening its military base in Tajikistan with weapons and other equipment.

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