19:32 GMT +321 June 2018
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    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow

    German FM Calls for New Arms Control Deal to Avoid NATO-Russia Arms Race

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    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for a new European arms control agreement in order to avoid an arms race between Russia and NATO.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A new arms control deal would contribute to "transparency, risk prevention and confidence building," Steinmeier wrote in a commentary quoted by the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Thursday, stressing that "we want a structured dialogue with all partners, who are responsible for the security of our continent."

    Earlier this month, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the European Union needed its own armed forces to "fulfill" its mission in the world. He added that it was not absolutely necessary to be a NATO member state to participate in the proposed European army, which could be not of an offensive nature.

    The idea of such an army has been repeatedly criticized by NATO officials, as well as by the UK authorities, who claimed that London would veto the move, which was prior to the British voters deciding to leave the 28-nation bloc on June 23.

    NATO-Russia relations deteriorated sharply in 2014, following the beginning of an internal conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The alliance accused Russia of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict and began to reinforce its presence in Eastern Europe, in response to what it considers Moscow's aggressive foreign policy.

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    NATO, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany, Russia
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