Moscow has agreed to a Russia-NATO council after the alliance’s summit in Warsaw next month, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday, as both sides seek to defuse military tensions exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis.
NATO held its first formal meeting with Russia’s envoy to the alliance in almost two years in April, but the talks did little to ease tensions triggered by the Ukraine crisis.
France and others have called for another meeting to try to help rebuild trust between the two sides as NATO prepares for a summit next month.
“Russia gave its approval but would like the meeting to take place after the Warsaw summit to be able to examine the decisions that are taken there,” Ayrault told journalists after meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Paris.
NATO allies are to decide at the summit on July 8-9 how best to deal with Russia after Moscow’s lightning seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The United States, Britain and Germany have said they will deploy more troops to Poland and the Baltics to send Moscow a message.
Ayrault said France wanted the summit to show solidarity among allies but also transparency towards Russia through dialogue.
“We don’t want the Warsaw summit to be a confrontational summit,” he said.