Moscow Says Talks Between Russia, US, NATO on Security Guarantees Deadlocked
TEHRAN (FNA)- No reason to resume talks with Washington in the near future, since the negotiations between Russia, the US and NATO on security guarantees have deadlocked, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated on Thursday.
"The US and its allies are actually telling us ‘no’ relating to the key points of [the proposals]. They are telling us ‘yes’ or agree to discuss further the issues that <…> are secondary compared with the non-expansion of NATO. To some extent, this is a dead end, a difference in approaches. <...> So far, I see no reason to <…> negotiate further," the senior diplomat noted in an interview with RTVI.
"By and large, we need not just some comments and verbal statements but something more familiar to diplomats, for example, texts or statements put on paper. If our colleagues follow this direction, it will be possible to resume a formal dialogue," the senior diplomat said, adding that Russia was seeking to reach an agreement with the US and NATO in the field of security.
"Dialogue is better than confrontation, better than silence or some kind of imitation <…>. Everything is possible, we need to vigorously pursue the right way," Ryabkov insisted.
On Wednesday, the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council took place in Brussels, marking the second stage of consultations on security guarantees. The first stage of the talks between Russia and the US was held in Geneva on January 10.
The United States and its NATO allies are unready in any form to meet Russia’s key security guarantee demands halfway, Ryabkov said.
"The main problem is that the United States and its NATO allies are unready in any form and for any reasons to meet halfway our key demands to halt NATO’s expansion, curtail the alliance’s infrastructure and return it to the 1997 borders. And, naturally, [they are unready] on the issues that relate to legally binding guarantees of not deploying the corresponding systems in close proximity to our borders," Ryabkov added.
The senior Russian diplomat announced that he was unhappy in this situation that the forecast on the absence of surprises at the negotiations had come true.
"This is what we have but with a reservation that I do not know exactly what took place at the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation]. It seems that all things are quite predictable there as well," Ryabkov pointed out.
A Russia-NATO Council meeting held in Brussels on January 12 marked the second stage of consultations between Moscow and Western countries on Russia’s proposals on European security and was a follow-up of the negotiations between Russia and the United States in Geneva on January 10.
The United States and NATO want to discuss only security guarantee issues and on terms convenient for them, Ryabkov said.
Responding to a request to characterize the Western diplomats’ reaction to the Russian security proposals with one phrase, Ryabkov described it as follows, "Let us talk but only on the issues of interest for us, i.e. the West."
"’No’ was not said, but talking only on the terms and issues more suitable for the West is not an option for us because we are interested in the opposite," the senior Russian diplomat stressed.
"We need what I have spoken about while the rest is just an addition, with all the importance that we pay, for example, to the issue of the post INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty] and the issue of the moratorium on the deployment of such systems in Europe," the high-ranking Russian diplomat pointed out.
"This is important, considering that the current situation has changed so dramatically and the issue formulated by Moscow about the need to come to terms is so urgent because we have nowhere to retreat now. We already see that other measures and other techniques in the security sphere will be subsequently taken towards the opponents, if they ignore our demands and our needs," he stressed.
Moscow will find alternative solutions to cope with the policy of pressure and new sanctions against Russia from the United States, Ryabkov said, adding, "We will find alternatives, no matter what. Russia has never caved in to pressure, has never succumbed to threats and blackmail."
He drew attention to the fact that Russia’s most "rabid opponents" among US politicians, analysts, and political scientists, who understand that all the sanctions against Moscow that have been applied so far have not given the expected effect, came to the conclusion that it is necessary to "further increase this pressure".
He expressed surprise that "the most serious people" in the US, who "know firsthand what Russia is", think that if "we just apply a little more pressure, then everything will work out".
Ryabkov stated that "this is even against our psychological makeup, against our entire history and our consciousness".
Earlier on Wednesday, a group of Democrat legislators led by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey introduced a bill to the US Senate on restrictions against Russia if tensions around Ukraine escalate. It involves, among other things, sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, heads of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and other members of the military leadership. In addition, restrictive measures may affect the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Kremlin states that disagreements have been detected on principal issues during the Russia-US talks in Geneva and Russia-NATO talks in Brussels, and it is a bad thing, Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
"The talks were initiated in order to obtain specific answers to specific questions. And disagreements have been detected on these principal issues. It is a bad thing, it could be considered a low point of the past two rounds of talks," he added.
Peskov noted that, during both rounds, "There were some positive nuances, positive elements, that could be considered high points, but they were not the main goal of these consultations, they could not act as reasons for emergency meetings."
When asked whether the Kremlin sees point in further talk with the US on security, Peskov stated, "Russia has never lacked political will for further talks [with the US]. On the contrary: we have repeatedly faced our counterparts’ unwillingness to hold these talks. I have no doubt that there will be no deficit of political will for further talks as well, but one thing must be understood: the process cannot carry on for the sake of process on critical issues; there must be a concrete result, a concrete response."
He noted that the US may provide "some concrete written language" on both rounds of talks in the upcoming days.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said Thursday US military aid to Ukraine and the new draft package of sanctions against Russia continue Washington’s destructive course on support of Kiev authorities.
"We view it as the continuation of the undoubtedly destructive Washington’s course on supporting the Kiev regime," she added
Zakharova also noted EU’s "increasingly anti-Russian position" and unwillingness to aid in resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis. The spokeswoman also pointed to contradictions in the US’ actions regarding the preparation of potential sanctions against Russia for the allegedly potential invasion of Ukraine.
"All the while underscoring that the US are ‘guarding’ the basic international legal principles; it is very interesting, because all these materials [on sanctions] are being introduced by American lawmakers, affecting or seeking to affect what is happening here," she concluded.