In OSCE, Russia’s Lavrov Pushes For Deal Preventing NATO Enlargement

At the December 2 OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced Moscow’s call for signing a “legally binding” agreement to deter NATO’s further enlargement to Eastern Europe – to Georgia and Ukraine.

FM Lavrov quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin in declaring that “in our dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on the development of specific agreements that will exclude any further NATO advancement to the east and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close proximity to Russian territory.”

He said that Moscow will make relevant proposals shortly, adding the OSCE could play a “very useful role” in the matter. “The time has come to transform the right words into long-term, legally binding security guarantees – an imperative to prevent a slide into a confrontational scenario.”

The Russian FM dubbed the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit decision that Georgia and Ukraine will become Allied member states “a mine at the very foundation of the European security structure.”

He claimed this “mine” exploded in August 2008, when then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “was in euphoria from the NATO perspective, decided on an adventure that turned into dire consequences for Georgia itself and brought the security situation in Europe to a dangerous line.”

Alluding to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s recent statements that Russia has no say on the enlargement of the Alliance, FM Lavrov claimed that those “who insist that third countries have no right to express their position on the issue of NATO enlargement are playing with fire.”

The Russian military invaded Georgia on August 7, 2008, leading to the brief Russo-Georgian War over Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and the Kremlin’s subsequent recognition of two Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/regions on August 26, 2008.

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