The issue of an agreement between Russia and NATO on security guarantees may be at an impasse. After the consultations held in Geneva, diplomats and the military are moving to Brussels, where meetings of the Russia-NATO Council will take place, however, judging by the statements of the parties, there is no progress in the negotiations on the main topic so far.
As stated by the first deputy secretary of state of the United States Wendy Sherman, Washington does not agree with the restrictions on the admission of new countries to NATO.
“We were firm in opposing proposals for [гарантиях] security that is simply impassable for the United States. We will not allow anyone to end NATO’s open door policy, which has always been central to the alliance, ”she said during the briefing.
According to the American diplomat, the United States does not intend to abandon bilateral cooperation with sovereign countries that want to work with them. The lack of progress was confirmed by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov…
“On the main issue of NATO’s non-expansion, I would say no, no improvement has been achieved,” he told reporters.
He also warned that, despite all the objections from NATO, Russia will continue to conduct exercises on its territory, since it is a matter of the country’s security. At the same time, the diplomat noted that the North Atlantic Alliance and individual countries are “actively developing” the territory of Ukraine and other countries in close proximity to Russia.
Sergei Ryabkov stressed that Russia is not going to retreat from its demands for security guarantees, however, in his opinion, it is possible to find a “balance of interests that suits everyone”.
It will not be easy, if not impossible, to overcome the existing differences, however, the parties, apparently, will try to find a compromise. So far, experts are skeptical. Thus, President of the International Institute for Global Analysis Vision & Global Trends, political scientist Tiberio Graziani believes that the Russia-NATO Council, as well as the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, which will be held in Vienna on January 13, will not bring a significant effect.
“In my opinion, the upcoming negotiations will not bring significant effect. It seems that both sides are in no hurry, waiting for a decision that will not be taken for a long time. The diplomatic path is becoming more and more impassable, ”the political scientist told TASS.
At the same time, he hopes for a rapprochement of positions in the future. However, a source close to the talks told RIA Novosti that Russia is waiting for a concrete answer.
“We need a concrete answer to our concerns, primarily in the context of NATO’s non-expansion. We are not interested in any evasions, ”he said.
According to him, the Americans promised to provide their answer in writing next week, but on Ukraine they retain their “stubborn position” and do not want to discuss the topic of its entry into NATO without Kiev.
Corresponding Member of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation Alexander Bartosh considers the very fact of negotiations a positive moment.
– In addition, an agreement was reached on the continuation of the dialogue between the United States and Russia. If there were no chances for rapprochement of positions, there would be no need to continue the conversation. I think there are still opportunities for reaching mutual understanding and finding a compromise.
“SP”: – The United States does not agree with the restrictions on admission to NATO, at the same time the Russian side is concerned about this. Is it possible to make progress on this issue?
– Of course, there will be progress. Especially when NATO and the countries that are going to join there will understand that the very fact of accession is far from being positive for the alliance and each specific country. I think they will be able to understand this, if they still do not understand, in the near future.
“SP”: – If the situation at the negotiations reaches an impasse, what can Russia do?
– The documents that Russia handed over to the United States and NATO on the issue of obtaining legal guarantees do not contain any threats. At the same time, the idea is clearly expressed that if Russia’s concerns are not taken into account, then Russia will be forced to take appropriate military-technical measures. What the measures will be is not worth guessing. They can be very different. It will be a complex of measures, including economic, political, diplomatic and military ones.
“SP”: – How will the US and NATO respond?
– I think the United States, NATO, and the Europeans have long since realized that by accepting some kind of sanctions against Russia, they also harm themselves, so they will have to carefully assess the balance of positive and negative consequences of sanctions, first of all, for themselves. No one doubts that Russia is capable of withstanding the sanctions atmosphere. But the future will show how things will be in the USA and Europe.
Head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the PRUE G.V. Plekhanova Andrey Koshkin noted that for the first time in 30 years such negotiations were held on equal terms.
– We have put forward our requirements, while we have put forward them in a systematic way in the form of two projects. There is an understanding at a very high political level – the two presidents agreed, I mean the video summit on December 7, 2021. There is an understanding that it is necessary to look for common ground at the diplomatic table.
Full-scale negotiations within 8 hours is a lot for diplomats. There are three key problems: 1. non-expansion of NATO to the east – we are talking about not including Ukraine and Georgia; 2. the return of American forces and weapons to the 1997 positions. Let me remind you that after that, 14 states of Eastern Europe and the Balkan region joined NATO; 3. non-deployment in Europe of attack attack systems, which could be very unacceptable for Russia.
Team Sherman cheated by saying that they were not ready to negotiate the first two issues, that they were only ready to discuss non-deployment of strike systems against Russia in Europe. We conveyed our positions, conducted a conversation in the matrix of dialogue on equal terms.
The Americans generally talk only about those issues that concern them – as I understand it, they are most concerned about nuclear deterrence. On the third issue, they are ready to make a compromise – not to deploy their strike systems in Europe, to reduce the intensity and volume of military exercises, and to restrain the approach of aircraft to our borders.
The first round of negotiations is over, journalists are analyzing what Sherman and Ryabkov said – there is no particular discrepancy. There are different perspectives on the same issue. Today the American delegation communicates its position to the NATO countries, and tomorrow the negotiation process will continue. And after the 13th in the OSCE regime, a comprehensive result will be summed up and there will be appropriate reactions.
“SP”: – And what about the issue of Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO?
– They refused to discuss this issue.
“SP”: – If they don’t agree, what’s next? What can Moscow do?
– The answer was clear – it could be military-technical. There are many options, which will be undertaken, we will discuss later.