Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he did not rule out the possibility that the issue of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty would be addressed at the upcoming talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that the alliance was ready to continue a dialogue on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.
«Allies and Russia… shared views on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty,» NATO said in a statement following the NRC meeting.
In addition, Stoltenberg noted that all allies agreed that the INF treaty has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security.
«We all agree that the INF Treaty has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security… Allies urge Russia again… to ensure full compliance with the INF Treaty without delay. While we stand ready to continue dialogue on this issue with Russia, as an Alliance we are also committed to take effective measures to continue to ensure the safety and security of all Allies,» Stoltenberg said.
Russia, on its part, said that INF treaty is important as a factor in maintaining European and global stability, Permanent Mission to NATO noted.
The NATO-Russia Council, which brings together the 29 Allies and Russia, met in Brussels on Wednesday to exchange views on a wide range of topics, including issues related to military activities, reciprocal transparency and risk reduction; the situation in and around Ukraine; Afghanistan; and hybrid challenges. According to the statement released by NATO press service, NATO and Russia provided briefings on major exercises «in the spirit of transparency.»
The council was established on May 28, 2002 and was effectively suspended by the alliance in 2014-2016 over the situation in Ukraine. The latest NATO-Russia Council meeting was held in late May at NATO headquarters in Brussels.