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.
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.
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.
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.