The meeting of US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin after the NATO summit in Brussels is in the interests of the alliance, Secretary-General of the Organization Jens Stoltenberg said after talks in Brussels with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.
“I look forward to seeing President Biden in Brussels, and I am sure that we will discuss, among other things, our relations with Russia… I welcome that Biden will meet with President Putin after meeting with NATO leaders. The meeting between the two presidents is in line with NATO’s ambivalent approach to Russia, we need deterrence and defense, but also dialogue,” he said.
According to Stoltenberg, NATO countries “should strive for a better relation with Russia, Russia is our neighbor, we must reduce tensions. But even if we do not believe that such a relationship is possible soon, we should talk with Russia even in a difficult situation; discuss issues of transparency, reducing risks.”
“Now our relations are probably the most difficult since the Cold War, we need to prevent possible incidents, we need contacts, we need predictability, and the meeting between Biden and Putin is part of our dialogue with Russia,” the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Alliance concluded.
The NATO Secretary-General expressed hope that US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss arms control issues during a bilateral meeting.
“An important topic is the control of weapons. I am pleased that Presidents Biden and Putin have agreed to extend START, the only major arms agreement that still exists. But we need to go further, to include a greater number, a greater range of weapons systems in the control regimes. I hope that they will discuss the issue of arms control during the upcoming meeting,” he said after talks in Brussels with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrid Simonyte.
Stoltenberg added that he welcomes “the fact that Biden will first meet with NATO leaders, and then he will meet with Putin.”
“I hope that we will discuss the issue of arms control before this meeting,” he concluded.
Jens Stoltenberg also said that NATO leaders at the June 14 summit in Brussels will discuss Russia’s actions “in Ukraine and near its borders.” “I am sure that at our summit, the leaders will discuss these outrageous actions by Belarus (in connection with the forced landing of the Ryanair plane in Minsk), as well as the ongoing pattern of actions by Russia, including its continued significant military presence in Ukraine and near its borders. The level of Russian military and weapons presence in the region remains high. NATO continues to monitor the situation very closely,” he said.