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Saturday, May 21, 2016, Jaistha 7, 1423 BS, Shaban 13, 1437 Hijri

NATO begins a major military revamp
NATO, Russia in fray over talks
Published :Saturday, 21 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 23
BRUSSELS, May 20: NATO said Friday it will hold formal talks with Russia before a landmark July summit in Warsaw endorses the alliance's biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia.
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg should have consulted Moscow before announcing that the military alliance will hold a new meeting of the Russia-NATO council before NATO's July summit, Interfax news agency quoted the Russian foreign minister as saying on Friday.
"Why on earth did he say that? The Russia-NATO council works on the basis of consensus," Interfax cited Sergei Lavrov as saying and expressing Moscow's "bewilderment". "If they want to discuss this, let him discuss this with us instead of making his way to the microphone."
Pressed by some of NATO's 28 member states to try again, Stoltenberg said Friday alliance foreign ministers had agreed to explore if another NRC was possible.
Stung by Russia's Ukraine intervention and annexation of Crimea, US-led NATO cut all practical cooperation with Moscow but the NRC was kept open as a potential channel of communication.
At the same time, the alliance began a major military revamp to ensure a much quicker response in the event of a repeat of the Ukraine crisis. There, NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states. A key component involves putting more troops and equipment into Eastern Europe to reassure allies there they will not be left in the lurch, a move Russia says threatens its security.
Poland, host of the July summit, has pressed especially hard for NATO to take a hard line on Moscow.
Some member states however have been nervous about ending up in a new Cold War, and Germany in particular has urged using the NRC to talk with Moscow -- if only to show the alliance's good faith.    ?AFP, REUTERS

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