‘Strong NATO’ must for Russia dialogue: alliance chief

‘We are open for dialogue, we believe being strong is a precondition for engaging with Russia in a dialogue,’ NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg says

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said NATO must be strong in order to engage in dialogue with Russia.

“The whole idea of NATO is that we have to be strong… we are open for dialogue, we believe being strong is a precondition for engaging with Russia in a dialogue,” Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Stoltenberg’s comment echoed that of U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said on Tuesday that the U.S. and NATO needed a “strong but balanced” approach to Russia.

“Secretary Ash Carter said we need strong alliance but also a balanced approach and I think that is the good way of stating the idea of the alliance,” he said.

NATO defense ministers gathered in Brussels on Wednesday to boost the strength of the NATO Response Force, including its air and sea components.

However, Stoltenberg ruled out any attempt on Wednesday to imitate Russia in its quest to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal.

“We must do more to increase investment, we will not be dragged into an arms race but we must keep our countries safe,” he told reporters ahead of the meeting.

The meeting comes more than a week after Stoltenberg accused Russia on June 16 of “sabre rattling” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles would be put into service.

Putin reportedly said that the weapons of Russian army were being renewed in a scheduled program and by 2020 at least 70 percent of the army would use a new generation arsenal.


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