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EU welcomes NATO-Russia Council on security
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 12 - 2021

The recent offer by NATO to hold a NATO-Russia Council in response to the draft treaties on European security that Russia rendered public last week is an important step, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement Wednesday evening.
"NATO has a key role in guaranteeing peace in Europe. The EU is keen to work together with allies as well as with its partners in addressing today's security situation in our continent," said Borrell.
He noted that the EU is "fully committed to security in Europe based on the key principles of non-aggression and respect for national sovereignty and for territorial integrity.
"Today, Europe's security is under threat. Russia's actions, in particular the illegal annexation of Crimea, its role in fuelling the conflict in eastern Ukraine as well as its actions in the Georgian break-away regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in the Transnistrian region and in its support to the Lukashenko regime, have led to a severe deterioration of the security situation in Europe," said Borrell.
Most recently, the military build-up of Russia at its borders with Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea have created new threats and fears of invasion, he said. Borrell stressed that the EU "will respond resolutely to any further violations of Ukraine's sovereignty.
At the same time, the EU believes that dialogue, negotiation and cooperation are the only means to overcome disputes and bring peace." Any real discussion on security in Europe must build on and strengthen OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and UN commitments and obligations, he added.
On Dec. 16, NATO had released a statement on the situation in and around Ukraine. It said, "We are gravely concerned by the substantial, unprovoked, and unjustified Russian military build-up on the borders of Ukraine in recent months, and reject the false Russian claims of Ukrainian and NATO provocations.
"We call on Russia to immediately de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities.
"We are seriously assessing the implications for Alliance security of the current situation. We will always respond in a determined way to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense posture as necessary.
"NATO will take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defense of all NATO Allies. Any further aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and would carry a high price. NATO will continue to closely coordinate with relevant stakeholders and other international organizations including the EU.
"We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and call on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with its international obligations and commitments.
"We support the right of all countries to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference. NATO's relationship with Ukraine is a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies. We firmly reject any attempts to divide Allied security.
"We are ready for meaningful dialogue with Russia. We reiterate our long-standing invitation to Russia for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future. We are aware of Russia's recent European security proposals.
"We are clear that any dialogue with Russia would have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO's concerns about Russia's actions, be based on the core principles and foundational documents of European security, and take place in consultation with NATO's European Partners." — Agencies


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