23:26 GMT30 May 2020
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    The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) is an important channel for dialogue between Moscow and the alliance and should be thoroughly maintained due to its significance for cooperation, experts told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 for consultations and cooperation between Moscow and Brussels. Following the deterioration of Russia-NATO relations amid the Ukrainian crisis, the Alliance decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia. At the same time, the format was not suspended at all, as a number of communication channels within its framework remained open.

    The parties to the NRC saw a partial restoration of cooperation, as there were two meetings of the council in April and July.

    On Friday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that he was satisfied with the relaunch of the NRC, while the high-ranking NATO official said that the dialogue between the Alliance and Russia was crucial.

    The words of the two politicians have been welcomed by Unal Cevikoz, who used to be the Turkish ambassador to Iraq and to the United Kingdom.

    "I think NATO secretary general's visit to Germany and his consultations with the German foreign minister has given the opportunity to both dignitaries to re-evaluate the necessity of dialogue with Russia. NATO and Russia should talk, and they should take advantage of the existing mechanisms which allow them to do so," Cevikoz told Sputnik.

    The former diplomat added that he considered the council as the most suitable forum for the dialogue between Moscow and Brussels.

    His stance was echoed by Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, a former Italian diplomat and NATO Deputy Secretary General, who told Sputnik that the dialogue between Russia and NATO was necessary and the sides had many common interests.

    "We need to have a dialogue. It is time to do so and Stoltenberg is coming out as a very practical, pragmatic person. He is right about it. The logical framework is the NATO-Russia Council to address concerns and to look for possible fields for cooperation but of course it has to be prepared in advance, as many countries within the alliance have their prospects," Rizzo, who is also the head of NATO Defense College Foundation, a research center in Rome, said.

    The sides should also minimize tensions, including in regard to post-Soviet countries, and cooperate in the spheres that are the issues of common interests for both Moscow and the alliance, such as counterterrorism and nonproliferation, Rizzo concluded.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    NATO-Russia Council Lacks Efficiency – Russian Lawmaker
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    NATO-Russia Council, Russia
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