Relations between NATO and Russia are at a low ebb. The reason is the military concentration on both sides. Many fear that the escalation of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will lead NATO to a sharp confrontation with the Russians.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly warned against the situation. Among other things, Stoltenberg told a news conference after his meeting with the Romanian prime minister in Brussels on December 21 that the time had come for the major powers to pursue their own interests.
Retired diplomat Kai Ede thinks this is wrong. Stoltenberg uses a rhetoric that is utterly out of luck, says Eide to TV 2.
– When Stoltenberg says there are no more spheres of interest, this is wrong. Of course it does. And all the major powers operate with a policy of interest at all times. America does, China does, Russia does. Let’s take this inward, without pretending that we are in a world like that, Aid tells TV2.
TV2 is in contact with General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg Did not wish to comment on the case.
Eide believes the situation is dangerous and should be handled with care. Ede says the use of language was unnecessarily harsh on both sides. He points out that there is a traditional fear in Moscow of being surrounded by NATO. Therefore, rhetoric should be minimized.
– We must promise the Russians. Jens should change and use his time in NATO to calm the conflict. Words create suspicion and they refer to something. Eide says both sides have legitimate interests and then we need to find solutions that reflect both sides.
He has served in Norwegian diplomacy throughout his life and, among other things, was Norway’s ambassador to NATO for four years from 2002. During that time he attended several meetings of the NATO-Russia Council.
Member of the Conservative Party
He was a close friend of Jens Stoltenberg’s father, Thorvald Stoltenberg, and, among other things, Norway’s foreign minister. Today, Ede is a member of the Labor Party, but in 1990 he became a member of the Conservative Party and became prime minister. Size was also Secretary of State for International Affairs.
Now the experienced diplomat is worried. He believes the situation has become more dangerous since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He believes NATO should take into account that Russia has legitimate interests, just as NATO and Ukraine do.
– There is no clear solution, it needs to be found, discussed, and it becomes difficult as both sides have gone too far. Now you have to sit down and negotiate solutions for all parties, says Ede.
He acknowledges that Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 is unacceptable. But the potential Ukrainian membership in NATO could lead to a sharp escalation of tensions across Europe, which could lead to a major conflict that Norway is well aware of and we in the north will suffer. So, he thinks Jens Stoltenberg should change his style.
– I think he’s very contradictory. I think he should use his last months to reduce this here, says Ede.
But both parties need to be quiet, Ede believes. He points out that if Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, Norway could find itself in a situation where it would be forced to send troops to Ukraine, the smallest incident on the border between Ukraine and Russia.
– This is completely false, and it will damage our security interests in the North, Eide believes.
– What should the Norwegian authorities do?
– The Norwegian authorities need to be more balanced than we see today. We need to build a safety and security bridge. It is important to avoid rhetoric that provokes the situation and makes it more dangerous than necessary, concludes the experienced diplomat.
Russia is responsible
But the Norwegian government did not share Kai Aide’s opinion on the matter. Secretary of State Evind Vad Petersson (Labor) believes that Russia alone is responsible for the situation.
– Russia is to blame for the increased tension. The Allies have called on Russia to reduce tensions by withdrawing its troops and showing transparency.
– We are very concerned about the formation of Russian forces around Ukraine. Norway follows the situation closely and maintains close ties with our NATO allies and European partners. We take growth very seriously, Peterson writes in a message to TV2.
Norway’s policy towards Russia is based on two pillars each year. Defense and NATO will prevent any attack. The second pillar is to secure our neighbor to the east. Among other things, the lack of training with Allied troops very close to the Russian border and the lack of US bases on Norwegian soil. But in response to TV2’s response from the Foreign Ministry, the pledge was not mentioned. Now it applies to stability and security.
– NATO’s approach should be firm, security and prevention, combined with openness to dialogue. NATO has long been open to holding new meetings of the NATO-Russia Council. Peterson writes to TV2 that it is important to use political and diplomatic channels to reduce tensions.
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