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Publish Date : Saturday 17 March 2018 - 07:46
NATO says doesn't want new Cold War with Russia
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses a press conference to give the alliance
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses a press conference to give the alliance's annual report at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 15, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
Islam Times - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday the alliance did not want a return to Cold War hostilities with Russia while expressing support for Britain's strong stance on an alleged nerve agent attack.
He said the targeting of former double agent Sergei Skripal fit a "pattern of reckless behavior" to which the US-led military alliance had responded, but insisted political dialog must also continue.

    "We don't want a new Cold War, we don't want a new arms race, Russia is our neighbor; therefore, we have to continue to strive for an improved, better relationship with Russia," he told BBC radio.

He noted that NATO allies have in recent years imposed economic sanctions on Russia and deployed more troops in eastern Europe in response to the "changed security situation."

But he stressed, "To isolate Russia is not an alternative."

He added, "At some point Russia will understand that it is in its interests not to confront us but to cooperate with us, and we are ready to do so if they respect some basic norms and rules for international behavior."

NATO has backed Britain following the alleged attack in the southwestern English city of Salisbury on March 4, which left Skripal and his daughter Yulia in a critical condition.

Russia has denied any involvement in the incident.

"We have no reason to doubt the findings and assessments made by the British government, not least because this takes place at the backdrop of a pattern of reckless behavior by Russia over many years," Stoltenberg said.

Britain's opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has questioned whether the Russian state was responsible for the attack, warned Friday against a "drift to conflict."

By Friday morning, 33 Labor MPs had signed a parliamentary motion blaming the Russian state "unequivocally."
Story Code: 712059