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    There is already a lot of cooperation between NATO members and Russia in the northern regions in areas such as energy, the environment, search and rescue, the NATO chief said.

    MOSCOW, November 24 (Sputnik) — Despite mounting tensions between NATO and Russia, continued cooperation in the High North is important, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

    “I very much believe in cooperation in the High North,” Stoltenberg stated at the 60th Plenary Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

    The High North is a Norwegian political term which is often used to refer to the administrative entities in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

    “NATO is going to be there, Russia is going to be there. Russia is NATO’s biggest neighbor, so in one way or another we are going to relate. And even in the Cold War we had areas where we worked together and where we developed different kinds of cooperation,” Stoltenberg stated.

    The NATO chief noted that there has already been a lot of cooperation between NATO members and Russia in the northern regions in areas such as energy, the environment, search and rescue.

    At a time when both sides are scaling up their military presence near each other’s borders, Stoltenberg said that there has been an increased need for "transparency, predictability,” to avoid situations getting out of control. He added that “strength, firm and predictable policies create the foundation for engaging with Russia”.

    “I am really convinced that in the long run, it’s both in the interest of NATO, but also in the interest of Russia, to have a relationship based on trust, on respect for international law and open trade, close cooperation,” the secretary general stated.

    Relations between Russia and NATO have been strained in recent months as the alliance has repeatedly accused Russia of sending troops and military equipment to Ukraine in support of the pro-independence forces in the South-East of the country. Moscow has denied any involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

    Following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March, NATO boosted its military presence in Poland and in the former Soviet Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In April, the Alliance suspended all practical cooperation with Russia, limiting contact to ambassadorial and higher levels.

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    NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Russia
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