On October 12, during the program ‘Night Studio’ on Obieqtivi TV, member of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, Giorgi Maghlakelidze made a statement that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made it known that NATO is looking for ways to open up dialogue with Russia and at the same time he is glad that the NATO-Russia Special Council meetings began anew, which is instrumental for starting negotiations concerning issues which are problematic for both sides.
Giorgi Maglakelidze, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “He [Jens Stoltenberg, NATO] directly announced that NATO is seeking to start discussions with Russia. A format is in place, a special NATO-Russia format, or rather a special council in that respect, which makes us very glad. These are the words he used to disclose, that they have already held 4 meetings in this format of NATO-Russia relationship and welcome the dialogue and deliberation of some issues that represent obstacles to both sides … I say this statement was made only a few months or a month ago.”
October 12, 2017
Night Studio, Obieqtivi TV
This statement by the abovementioned member of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgria, as though NATO is probing for a political dialogue with Russia is manipulative and taken out of its original context.
- NATO discontinued all civil and military cooperation with Russia in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council in response to Russia-Ukraine conflict from April 2014.
- The format of political dialogue with Russia is maintained, which only implies exchanging views on the current crisis.
- The position of the Alliance towards Russia on issues like Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea or political support of Ukraine and Georgia remains unchanged.
Statements made by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
On July 13, 2017, at the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg conveyed that the three key issues discussed were: Ukraine, Afghanistan, as well as the tasks for greater transparency and larger risk reduction.
According to Jens Stoltenberg, there are fundamental disagreements between NATO and Russia pertaining to Ukraine, the Crimean issue and conflict in Eastern Ukraine remain, as points of contention between the sides, which is why having active communication channels, are important.
“Dialogue can be difficult, but it is also essential and in times of raised tensions, such as now, it is particularly important to keep channels of communication open. At today’s meeting, we had a frank and useful discussion on three key issues: Ukraine, Afghanistan, and transparency and risk reduction. In the case of Ukraine, NATO Allies and Russia continue to have fundamental disagreements. The Crimean issue and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine remain clear points of contention, and heavy weapons have not been withdrawn from the conflict zone. The Minsk Agreements provide the best chance of a solution to the conflict, but they need to be implemented, and the work of the OSCE monitors need to be allowed to proceed unimpeded.”
On August 3, in an interview with CNN, Jens Stoltenberg assessed NATO’s relations with Russia and emphasized that involvement of Russia in political dialogue is paramount to avoid future escalations and tensions.
“I think it is correct to say that NATO’s relationship with Russia is more difficult than it has been any time since the end of the Cold War. At the end of the Cold War, we hoped to develop a close partnership with Russia. But especially after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the continued Russian destabilization of eastern Ukraine, the relationship between NATO and Russia has deteriorated considerably. As long as we are strong, as long as we are predictable, we can also engage in political dialogue with Russia to try to avoid escalation and avoid a new Cold War.”
Speaking at the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest on October 9, NATO’s Secretary General said that the increased military activity of the Alliance was a direct respons to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. According to Stoltenberg, NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and fully compatible with the alliance’s international obligations. The Alliance is concerned about the Russian military presence in the border regions and the lack of transparency concerning information referring to military exercises. For this reason, bilateral negotiations are important, through which NATO urges Russia to stand by its international obligations.
“And I think that’s important, just to sit around a table and discuss difficult issues like Ukraine. It’s not easy, but that’s the reason why it’s important to meet, because we are not aiming at isolating Russia. Russia’s our neighbor. We have to talk. We need political dialogue with Russia based on strength.”
In connection with Georgia and Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg stressed that NATO and allies provide significant political and practical support for both Georgia and Ukraine.
NATO – Russia Relations
In 2002, NATO – Russia Council was created. It represented a sort of a forum for consultations between NATO and Russia on security issues and for the practical cooperation in different spheres.
- In August 2008, as a result of disproportionate military actions of Russian Federation conducted in Georgia, formal meetings of NATO – Russia Council and cooperation in several spheres were cancelled until spring 2009. NATO supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia in internationally recognized borders and calls for Russia to revoke the recognition of the independence of Georgia’s integral parts, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region.
- In April 2014, as a response to the Russo – Ukrainian conflict, all types of civic and military cooperation with Russia were ceased, however, channels for political and military communication are open. According to NATO, Russia violated international law and acted against the base document of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, NATO – Russia bilateral relations, cooperation and security agreements and principles and obligations of Rome Declaration, which significantly shattered the trust between Russia and NATO. The format of political dialogue maintained with Russia only includes exchanging opinions on the current crisis
Prepared by Lalita Aleksandria
Myth Detector Lab