Germany wants NATO to have diplomatic relations with Russia

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he expects close relations between Russia and NATO

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier answers questions as he stands in front of Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen, the German lower house of parliament, Berlin, Germany, December 2, 2015

German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that he expects NATO to resume regular and high-level relations with Russia during the meeting with his NATO peers in Brussels.

"We see that Russia is acting definitely in a constructive way in the efforts to find a solution for Syria," Steinmeyer said praising Russian military activity in the war-torn country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has approved the decision to take an active role in the military campaign against DAESH in Syria, signaling a cooperation with Russia and other countries fighting against DAESH in the region.

Russia has been conducting air strikes in Syria since Sept. 30 claimed to be against DAESH positions. However, critics have stated that most of the Russian air strikes have been targeting opposition-held territories where civilians live, in order to bolster the regime of Syrian autocrat Bashar al Assad.

On Tuesday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has said they won’t have any cooperation with Russia’s close ally Assad and they won’t be conducting air strikes.

A man searches for belongings amidst rubble at a site hit by Russian airstrikes in the town of Darat Izza in Aleppo’s countryside October 7, 2015

Steinmeier also said on Wednesday that they had “different experiences” with Russia, referring Russian activities in eastern Ukraine.

"We still have very different experiences with Russia, there is a difficult situation in eastern Ukraine, again breaches of the ceasefire," he said.

NATO has halted all practical cooperation with Russia as West’s relations with the country worsened last year after the country intervened in Ukraine and supported rebels against Kiev’s Western government.

Steinmeier stated that he “pushed” for possibilities to reduce risks and exchange information with Russia as he and other NATO ministers asked the alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg for the NATO-Russia talks which has not been held on the diplomatic level since 2014.

On the other hand, he stressed that if Ukraine crisis remains unsolved and Russia keeps breaching Minsk peace accords in Ukraine, a business relation could not be conducted as usual.

Diplomatic sources of NATO said Steinmeier’s proposal received positive response by US Secretary of State John Kerry and some of the foreign ministers.

Some other foreign ministers didn’t immediately agree on the proposal.

"What exactly the dialogue should look like, it‘s to be decided yet," said Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak.

"Whether it should be a NATO-Russia Council or some different form, ... some sort of dialogue is necessary."


TRTWorld and agencies