18 May 2022,   23:58
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Sergey Lavrov says he wants clarifications from Western powers on security

Despite the clamor of warnings about war, the diplomatic dialogue between Moscow and the West is set to continue — for the time being, at least — after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he would send a letter to Western counterparts seeking clarification on a key security question of interest to the Kremlin, writes POLITICO.

“In an interview with four Russian radio stations, Lavrov said that his letter would request that the U.S. and other Western powers explain their position on the principle of “indivisibility” in Euro-Atlantic security, as described in the 1999 “Istanbul Document” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

While Lavrov’s point might seem esoteric, his comments represented a potentially important signal from the highest levels of the Russian government about the willingness to continue diplomatic talks, amid fears of a further invasion or other military strike on Ukraine.

At another point in the radio interview, Lavrov said: “We don’t want wars”.

On Wednesday, the United States and NATO delivered their written responses to a raft of demands for security guarantees that Russia had put forward in December in the form of two draft treaties.

In response to the written replies, both Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Russian side was not optimistic but that the documents were in Putin’s hands and the president was studying them.

On the radio program, Lavrov complained that the Western nations like to focus only on “one slogan” from the Istanbul Document, about how each country is “free to choose its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance.” It is under this principle that Washington insists that it is only up to Ukraine and NATO to decide on its future membership in the alliance.

In the interview, Lavrov alleged that the U.S. and NATO were purposely ignoring another part of the same paragraph, where he said: “It is stipulated by the condition and obligation of each country, under which the Westerners signed, not to strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others”, - writes the author.

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