The US Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Wendy Sherman, said on Monday – following the talks she had in Geneva with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on security matters – that the United States is determined to reject unsuccessful security proposals and allow no one to cancel NATO’s “open-door” policy.
“We will not allow anyone to undo NATO’s open-door policy, which has always been central to the alliance,” Sherman said, adding that the United States has no plans to make any decisions on the situation in Ukraine without consulting with the leadership of the country.
Sherman said the United States had had frank and clear discussions with the Russian delegation during the nearly eight hours that these lasted and was open to meeting again soon to discuss bilateral issues in more detail.
Referring to the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US Secretary of State said that the proof that there are no such plans would be to return the Russian troops deployed on the border with Ukraine to their barracks.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister described the talks as professional, but said that a significant cut-off and compromises were needed. “The discussion was difficult, long, very professional, in-depth, and specific. Without trying to beautify anything or avoid sharp corners,” said Sergei Ryabkov, stressing that the United States had taken security guarantees very seriously.
“We have the impression that the American side has taken the Russian proposals very seriously, studied them in-depth,” Ryabkov said.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also said that Russia would decide whether to continue talks with the United States after this week’s scheduled meetings with NATO and under the auspices of the OSCE. Speaking at a news conference after the Geneva talks, Ryabkov said there was a basis for an agreement between Russia and the United States, but that Washington should not underestimate the risks of confrontation. At the same time, he said that a balance of interests could be found with NATO without Russia backing down from its demands on security guarantees.
At the same time, Ryabkov made it clear that Russia would continue to conduct military exercises on its territory, despite NATO objections, saying that “as NATO takes care of its own security, so we take care of our own security and do whatever we deem necessary.”
Ryabkov said there had been no progress on the issue of non-enlargement of NATO. “As for the non-enlargement of NATO, I would say that there has been no categorical progress on this issue,” Ryabkov said, adding that “this is one of the main problems … and I would say that to a large extent all the rest will depend on how the situation develops on this issue.”
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