"I contacted Russian counterparts here in Brussels at least five times. The last one was last week, where I offered again… to start with [chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff] Gen. [Valery] Gerasimov at least the initial stage… of the conversation… I also stressed the view that is different from the Russian military that we cannot start expert-level discussion without first setting the scope for the agenda at the top military level," Pavel said at a press briefing, when asked about the progress made on setting up a meeting on dangerous military incidents between experts from Russia and NATO.
The Military Committee chairman said that the contact and "basic trust" between the two sides had to be reestablished and the agenda for the meeting had to be determined before the experts could begin to communicate.
Pavel also emphasized the importance of setting "clear rules" for the talks between the experts and of the focus on risk reduction and transparency.
In late December 2016, Russian envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko criticized NATO for lack of readiness to work on arranging the talks adding that Russia was willing to cooperate and had repeatedly made proposals that could amend the existing agreements between Moscow and the alliance.