Russia says NATO expansion toward neutral states undermines prospects for security dialogue in Europe - M5 Dergi
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Russia says NATO expansion toward neutral states undermines prospects for security dialogue in Europe

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Part of Europe showing military-political neutrality is ‘narrowing,’ says Russian foreign minister

Russia on Wednesday said NATO expansion toward neutral states undermines prospects for security dialogue on the European continent.

“With the takeover by NATO of almost all neutral states, and this process, unfortunately, we are witnessing with our own eyes, the opportunity for a constructive policy on the continent with the proactive role of neutrals, in fact, disappears. It is sad,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow alongside his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Aleinik.

Lavrov said Finland’s and Sweden’s accession process to NATO, with the latter having officially joined the bloc early last month, as well as Switzerland’s abandonment of its policy of neutrality, showed that the part of Europe showing military-political neutrality is “narrowing.”

“This was enshrined in the constitutions of the respective states, and they created space for finding a balance of interests, compromises between the NATO part of Europe and, say, the Union State (of Russia and Belarus) and the (Russia-led) Collective Security Treaty Organization,” Lavrov also said.

Lavrov further said he believes the promotion of constructive political processes, which would create a more positive atmosphere, is becoming much more difficult.

“When and if the West comes to its senses, and when and if the West realizes that it will not be able to stop the historically objective process of the formation of a multipolar world, then, of course, a conversation will be required that is not limited to Europe at all, and we cannot get away from the conversation that global security should be honest and equal,” he added.

Lavrov noted that they exchanged views with Aleinik on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), describing the situation within the organization as “deplorable.”

“We have exchanged opinions on the, let’s face it, deplorable situation at the OSCE, which has been going down the tubes due to the reluctance on the part of NATO members to rein in their ambitions to dictate to everybody around and return to a respectful, equal dialogue. This will lead to a deadlock,” he said.

Lavrov also said Moscow is taking steps to ensure that Minsk, which has had observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) since 2015, completes the procedures necessary for Belarus to join the SCO as soon as possible.

Lavrov also criticized Europe’s willingness to negotiate on Ukraine only based on the 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the latest G-20 summit in Indonesia, and that there can be no other basis.

“Europe makes no attempt to hide its attitude (on Chinese peace initiative on Ukraine), its attitude is the same as in Washington, it’s all coordinated; the attitude is such that if Russia said it could be discussed then it is no good,” he said.

Russia is ready to consider proposals to resolve the Ukrainian crisis from the countries of Africa and Latin America, namely those put forth by Brazil and South Africa, but that these proposals have not yet been put on paper, unlike the proposal made by China, Lavrov added.

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