15:42 GMT09 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the German Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news agency that he was open to having a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin under the "right" circumstances.

    "I believe in dialogue with Russia ... And therefore, if the context is right, I am, of course, also ready to meet with President Putin", he said in an interview released on Monday.

    Stoltenberg stressed the importance of discussing differences, especially when relations are strained.

    "Russia is our biggest neighbour, Russia is here to stay and we need to strive for a better relationship with Russia", the NATO chief said.

    The statement comes after the Kremlin has expressed concern over NATO's continuing expansion closer to the Russian border, and agreed with the General Staff's statement about NATO's preparations for a large-scale military conflict.

    During the NATO summit in London on 3 December, US President Donald Trump said he saw no problem with Stoltenberg speaking with Russia. On the same day, Stoltenberg said that NATO does not view Russia as an enemy and has no list of enemies, but is nevertheless ready to respond to any Russian aggression against the easternmost NATO members. The NATO chief then went on to warn of the dangers of forming such lists of enemies, noting that security unpredictability was the main challenge that the alliance must face.

    The relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Moscow soured dramatically after the 2014 power change in Ukraine followed by Crimea's reunification with Russia and prolonged military conflict in Donbass.

    Tags:
    Vladimir Putin, political dialogue, dialogue, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief, NATO, Russia
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