NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said that NATO remains ready to engage in a “meaningful dialogue” with Russia.
“The best way for Russia to demonstrate its readiness to find a peaceful solution is to de-escalate and remove the forces which are now threatening Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference with Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez following their meeting in Brussels.
The leaders discussed the partnership between NATO and Colombia, as well as Russia’s “unjustified military buildup” in and around Ukraine, Stoltenberg explained.
He stressed that NATO remains ready to start a “meaningful dialogue” with Russia, and urged Moscow to “choose the path of diplomacy” in the conflict with Ukraine.
Marquez, for his part, reaffirmed Colombia’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and promised to join the international community in imposing sanctions on Moscow in case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He asserted that choosing dialogue over escalation would be “a better path for the world”.
Stoltenberg and Duque also talked about the “deepening cooperation” between Russia and China and their support for the “repressive regime” in Venezuela.
“We agreed that all parties should play a constructive role for regional peace and stability,” Stoltenberg added.
Last week, Stoltenberg sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, inviting Moscow to continue talks in the NATO-Russia Council on arms control and military transparency.
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.
The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack, and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”
Moscow, however, has denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.
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