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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs - NATO headquarters - 6-7 December 2016

    NATO Foreign Ministers Confirm Need of Dialogue With Russia - Stoltenberg

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    NATO foreign ministers have confirmed the need of dialogue with Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. However, he said that the West should continue its sanctions policy toward Russia.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    "We had a very good discussion on our relationship with Russia and there is strong unity and a very clear message from all allies that our approach to Russia should build on the message [of] defense and dialogue," Stoltenberg told a press conference.

    "The international community must keep pressing Russia to respect its obligations, especially while the security situation in the Eastern Ukraine remains so serious, it is important that economic sanctions be maintained," Stoltenberg told reporters after the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels.

    However, he stressed that Russia was playing significant role in the conflict settlement, adding that West should continue dialogue with Moscow.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, using Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.

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    NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Russia
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