Moscow says 'fundamental' differences after NATO talks

Moscow says ‘fundamental’ differences after NATO talks

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BRUSSELS: Russia said on Wednesday that security talks between Moscow and NATO in Brussels were “frank” but said there was no breakthrough and stressed that there were many “fundamental” differences between the two sides.

“It was a heart to heart,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters after the talks in Brussels.

“The conversation was quite frank, direct, deep, intense, but at the same time it revealed a large number of differences on fundamental issues.”

He said that Russia and NATO had no “positive agenda — none at all” and warned that the continued deterioration of the situation could lead to the “most unpredictable and most dire consequences for European security”.

Grushko spoke after NATO allies rejected Russia s demand for a new security settlement in Europe earlier Wednesday, challenging President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops deployed near Ukraine and join talks on reducing the threat of open conflict.

The high-stakes talks come amid fears of a Russian invasion of its pro-Western neighbor Ukraine. Moscow has demanded broad concessions from Washington and its NATO allies, which in turn have threatened harsh sanctions for any attack.

Glushko told reporters that Moscow’s proposal could actually improve the security of Russia and NATO members, adding that in order to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, the EU should stop military aid, including arms supplies, to Kiev.

Russia’s diplomatic mission to the alliance was withdrawn last year after eight of its staff were expelled on suspicion of spying.

Grushko said Russia could re-open its mission if NATO changed course

“I do not rule out that our diplomatic presence here may be restored”, he said.

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