Russia ready for dialogue with NATO, insists on military experts’ participation

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MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Russia is ready to discuss issues of de-escalation and preventing incidents with the North Atlantic Alliance, but without engaging military experts this dialogue makes no sense, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel on Monday.

“Russia is not avoiding dialogue with NATO and is ready for a real discussion on the issues of de-escalation and preventing incidents. But without engaging military experts the talks on these issues would actually make no sense. Mr. Stoltenberg is well aware of this,” Zakharova said, commenting on NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement that Moscow had not responded to a proposal on holding a meeting.

Touching on Stoltenberg’s remark that the ball was in Moscow’s court, the diplomat said: “Speaking about balls. Mr. Stoltenberg, please return your goalposts to the playing field, we will score.”

Earlier, the NATO chief suggested resuming meetings of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), noting that Moscow had been invited to hold dialogue more than a year ago, but it never responded.

The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 based on the agreements brokered by the Italian government led by Silvio Berlusconi. The Council held its last meeting in July 2019.