BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — NATO should normalize dialogue with Russia during 2017 to overcome contradictions and avoid occasional military incidents that can lead to further deterioration of the relations, German Permanent Representative to NATO, Hans-Dieter Lucas, said.
"Although there will not be a return to business as usual for the time being, necessary business needs to be done with Russia in order to avoid dangerous misperceptions and misunderstandings. This is in the Alliance’s own best interest. The NATO-Russia Council, which met three times in 2016, is a key forum for pursuing this necessary dialogue. It would be important to breathe more life into the dialogue track with Russia over the course of 2017," Lucas wrote in the Berlin Policy Journal article.
The sides should inform each other about their military exercises and threat perceptions. Reducing risks and misunderstanding are important issues for the NATO-Russia Council, Lucas added.
The relations between NATO and Russia deteriorated in 2014 after the Crimea held a referendum and joined Russia. The West has accused Russia of military aggression in Ukraine, allegations Moscow has repeatedly denied.
In late December 2016, Russian envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko criticized NATO for lack of readiness to work on arranging the talks adding that Russia was willing to cooperate and had repeatedly made proposals that could amend the existing agreements between Moscow and the alliance.
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