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19 April 201717:34

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the planned meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen

793-19-04-2017

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In connection with media reports on the plans to hold a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Spitsbergen in May, we believe it is necessary to make the following statement.

Russia operates based on the premise that all the states that are party to the Spitsbergen Treaty of 1920 should be interested in ensuring that Spitsbergen remains an archipelago of peace and neighbourliness.

In the context of NATO's current policy of "containing" Russia, accompanied by unprecedented military preparations near the borders of our country, the attempts to bring Spitsbergen under the wing of this military-political bloc and to hold its meetings there are at odds with the spirit of the 1920 Treaty. We consider this to be a provocative policy.

We also took note of the fact that the agenda of the seminar includes, among other things, discussing how geopolitics and the future of the Arctic are interconnected. We strongly believe that there are no problems in the Arctic region that require NATO participation to solve, let alone militarily. The escalation of tension is not in the long-term interests of the countries of Northern Europe and weakens, rather than strengthens, their security.

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