09:50 GMT01 June 2020
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    NATO is interested in establishing a stable relationship with Russia, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — A stable relationship between the sides is important for fighting international terrorism, she asserted.

    "We are interested in establishing reliable relations with Russia again," von der Leyen said, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.

    Also on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the bloc is strongly in favor of dialogue with Russia from the predictable position.

    Relations between Russia and NATO, which started in 1991 with Russia joining the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Partnership for Peace program, deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea rejoined Russia. With the start of military conflict in Ukraine, all civil and military cooperation between NATO and Russia was frozen.

    Since then, the Alliance has increased its military presence in Eastern Europe, using Russia's alleged aggression as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly criticized NATO for deploying military facilities and troops near Russian borders.

    Moscow has repeatedly voiced its protests against the NATO military buildup saying that will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.

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    NATO, Ursula von der Leyen, Jens Stoltenberg, Russia
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