Guterres on Moscow's New Security Proposals: UN Welcomes US-Russia Dialogue
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes the dialogue between Russia and the United States on the new security arrangements with NATO proposed by Moscow, United Nations spokesperson Farhan Haq said.
"The Secretary-General has taken [note] of the relevant media reports. We welcome dialogue, at various levels, between the Russian Federation and the United States, to address differences, de-escalate tensions, and safeguard regional peace," Haq said.
The spokesperson also said Guterres has reminded all stakeholders of their responsibility "to ensure a peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine accordance with the Minsk Agreements as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 2202 (2015) and reiterates the UN's support to all ongoing negotiation efforts to that end."
Earlier on Friday, Russia released its draft proposals on security guarantees, including that NATO must commit to not expand further, such as in Ukraine and abandon military activities in that country as well as in Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Another proposal stipulates that Russia and NATO should not deploy intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas where they can hit each other's territory.
Security issue has surged in importance amid tensions in and around Ukraine, as United States and its allies have accused Russia of deploying troops and military hardware near the Ukrainian border in preparation for an invasion. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying that NATO's military activities near its borders are a national security threat. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own sovereign territory.
US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held virtual talks on 7 December during which they discussed the situation with respect to Ukraine. Biden voiced concern over the current developments and called for a diplomatic solution. Putin said that Kiev did not comply with the Minsk accords and also note that NATO continues to seek expansion eastward while conducing military build-up near the Russian borders.
On Wednesday, US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried met in Moscow with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak. The Russian Foreign Ministry said after the meeting that the participants had discussed the security guarantees in light of the ongoing attempts by the United States and NATO to change the military and political situation in Europe in their favour.