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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017

    NATO Does Not Want to Isolate Russia, Seeks Talks on Arms Control - Stoltenberg

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    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no intentions of isolating Russia and is calling for a dialogue with Moscow on arms control measures, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during his address before a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday.

    "We do not want to isolate Russia. We strive for a better relationship with Russia. But even without a better relationship, we need to manage a difficult one," Stoltenberg said. "So we need to talk, and we do talk to reduce risks, to avoid incidents, accidents and miscalculations. We also need dialogue in order to work for arms control."

    On Member-States' Spendings

    NATO member states should allocate more money for defense so as the alliance can invest in new weapon systems, including advanced fighter aircraft and surveillance drones, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told US Congress on Wednesday.

    "NATO allies must spend more on defense," Stoltenberg said. "Those funds will allow us to invest in new capabilities our armed forces need, including advanced fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, missile defense and surveillance drones."

    Stoltenberg noted that all NATO member states have recently increased defense spending after years of having reduced budgets.

    "Just in last two years, European allies and Canada have spent an additional $41 billion on defense. By the end of next year that number will increase to $100 billion," Stoltenberg said, adding that these measures are making the alliance stronger.

    Stoltenberg called NATO a strategy needed by the West in order to deal with the uncertainty present in the world.

    On Future of INF Treaty

    Speaking on the issue of the INF treaty, Stoltenberg noted that NATO must get ready for a world without the treaty.

    "We must also prepare for a world without the INF Treaty," Stoltenberg said. "We will be measured and coordinated. We will not mirror what Russia is doing."

    Stoltenberg pointed out NATO's position regarding the INF Treaty is that Russia is in violation of the accord.

    READ MORE: US Promised No INF-Banned Missiles, But Pentagon's 2020 Budget Has Several

    Russia has repeatedly denied the allegation as unsubstantiated, and has complained that US defense systems in Europe have been equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the INF Treaty.

    "There are no new American missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles," Stoltenberg said. "I continue to call on Russia to return to compliance with the INF Treaty. But so far, Russia has taken no steps to do so, and time is running out."

    Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO does not want a new arms race or a new Cold War.

    "But we must not be naive and agreement that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe," Stoltenberg said.

    The meeting coincides with the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the alliance. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, an intergovernmental military bloc, was created in 1949 by 12 countries.

    Over the course of its 70-year history, the organisation has grown into a 29-member alliance. Member states recently committed to reach or maintain defence spending of at least two percent of their GDP by 2024.

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