Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger has urged NATO and Russia to settle their differences and called on NATO to revive the NATO-Russia Council; both sides, he stressed, have in their possession thousands of nuclear warheads, which will pose a real danger if a military conflict escalates.
In the run-up to the 52nd edition of the Munich Security Conference, its Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger delivered a speech during a press conference at Federal press center in Berlin on Wednesday.
Ischinger has called on NATO and Russia to bridge differences and resume an active information exchange between the two to further avoid new conflicts and unnecessary aggravation of bilateral relations.
He reminded the journalists that the relationship has strained over the Ukrainian crisis and both NATO and Russia should bring the “diplomatic machine” back into action.
“It is important to talk to each other not only through megaphone, and I think there is an urgent need for the Alliance to increase its already growing strive to revive the NATO-Russia Council,” RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.
Ischinger added that the danger of escalation became only more evident after Turkey downed the Russian bomber in the Syrian sky. The incident highlighted the danger of military escalation between NATO and Russia, which, since the end of the Cold War has never been as high as it is now, as Turkey is a NATO member state,
He called on all the parties not to forget that both sides have in possession thousands, and if take into account nonstrategic ones, tens of thousands of nuclear warheads.
“Only imagine if Russia, also by mistake, have reacted with downing of an American jet. The problem should be treated seriously,” concluded the top diplomat.
The NATO-Russia Council (NRC), was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002. It replaced the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), a forum for consultation and cooperation created by the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which remains the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations.
It is a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action, in which the individual NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest.