WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Russia each assured Monday that they had shown firmness during their meeting devoted to security in Europe in Geneva, while leaving the door open to further discussions.
Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman assured that the American delegation had unambiguously rejected Russian proposals aimed at preventing the accession of new countries to NATO, a concern brandished by Moscow to justify having massed troops on the border with Ukraine for several months.
Referring to eight hours of “frank and direct” exchanges with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, the head of the administration Biden said she was ready to discuss bilateral issues quickly and in more depth, but on condition that Moscow is entering into a logic of de-escalation.
“Russia can prove this by sending its troops back to their barracks,” she said during a press conference.
Sergei Riabkov, for his part, asserted that Russia does not “threaten anyone”, does not “issue an ultimatum”, assuring that it is in the interest of the Atlantic Alliance to “make a gesture” to respond to the concerns of Moscow.
“If this does not happen, it would be a mistake on NATO’s part and it would undermine its own security,” he warned.
Deeming nevertheless “possible” an agreement with the United States, in spite of positions “at the antipodes on what to do”, he stressed that this would require compromises and a respect by the two countries of their mutual interests.
(Simon Lewis, Arshad Mohammed, Doina Chiacu and Daphne Psaledakis, French version Tangi Salaün)
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