28 Sep 2017 13:37

NATO has no plans to 'freeze' NATO-Russia Council - alliance spokesperson

BRUSSELS. Sept 28 (Interfax) - NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu has denied media reports alleging a freeze on the activity of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC).

"NATO has no plans to 'freeze' the NATO-Russia Council. Indeed, as the NATO Secretary General has said in recent interviews, we're now looking into the possibility of convening another meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. We are currently exploring possible dates with our Russian colleagues," Lungescu told Interfax in Brussels on Thursday.

A number of Russian media outlets said that the NRC's activity would be frozen until the end of this year at the alliance's initiative.

"Since April 2016, the NATO-Russia Council has met five times, addressing issues such as Ukraine, military transparency, risk reduction, and Afghanistan," Lungescu said.

"NATO Allies remain open to a periodic, focused, and meaningful dialogue with Russia in NATO-Russia Council," she said.

The media cited the Zapad (West) 2017 strategic exercise of Russia and Belarus as one of the reasons for the decision. Western countries repeatedly expressed their concern over the drill.