• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • “We are in favour of NATO-Russia meetings, but we wonder whether they will lead anywhere and what the Alliance wants to achieve,” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in Brussels on Tuesday.


    NATO headquarters in Brussels host a two-day meeting of the Alliance’s foreign ministers. As announced, Tuesday’s working dinner ending the first day of deliberations focused on relations with Russia in the last two and a half years and their future.


    Before the meeting, Minister Waszczykowski told the media that he intended to talk about strategy towards Russia.


    As he recalled, the NATO summit in Warsaw adopted a two-pronged strategy towards Russia consisting in simultaneous deterrence, via a reinforced eastern flank and military presence, and dialogue with Russia. “We agreed to resume talks within the NATO-Russia Council, but so far they have brought little result. Russia uses these meetings to only promote only its own policies, while we see no willingness to cooperate,” said Minister Waszczykowski.


    According to the head of the Polish MFA, Russia understands the term “consultations” differently than NATO – not as an exchange of information and opinions, but as joint decision-making and actions. “As long as Russia is not a NATO member, and this is not to happen soon, it is not entitled to decide jointly with the Alliance about its actions,” Minister Waszczykowski said.


    The chief of Polish diplomacy added that he sees a possibility of another meeting with Russia. “We are in favour of holding such meetings regularly, but we also wonder whether they are going to be aimed at something specific, or they will only be a sham and will replace real dialogue aimed at clarifying the situation, whether they will only be a routine activity that... well, leads to where? I want to ask this question. Where do we want to bring this dialogue?” explained the minister.


    He added that Poland wants to convince Russia that NATO didn’t and still doesn’t have any aggressive intentions towards it, and that there is no aggressive doctrine directed against any state. “If we cannot persuade it, then maybe Russia would persuade us that its actions serve a peaceful purpose. So far we do not see a peaceful objective, rather aggressive ones,” said the MFA’s head. He pointed out that since 2008, Russia has been involved in as many as three armed conflicts.



    Asked by PAP about the date of the next NATO-Russia Council meeting, Minister Waszczykowski said that “there are even plans to meet this month.”


    Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the NATO-Russia Council met four times, including twice in 2016. The last meeting took place in July, a few days after the NATO summit in Warsaw. On Monday, journalists asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the date of the next meeting and issues to be addressed, including Ukraine. Stoltenberg said the date had not yet been specified.


    “Ukraine is an important part of our dialogue with Russia, so one of the reasons why we believe that the dialogue with Russia is meaningful is also the opportunity to raise these matters on which we disagree,” said NATO Secretary General.


    On Monday, Stoltenberg reiterated that in times when tensions run high it is even more important to have a dialogue with Russia while continuing to pursue a dual track approach, which also consists of deterrence.


    Source: PAP

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