Bilateral Relations

Russia confirms receiving US response to security proposals

by Ilya Tsukanov, Sputnik News

The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed receiving the US’ written response to the security proposals presented by Moscow in December.

“On 26 January, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko received US Ambassador John Sullivan at the latter’s request. In the course of the meeting, the head of the US diplomatic mission handed Grushko the written response of the US administration on the draft bilateral treaty on security guarantees submitted earlier by the Russian side,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram page on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his turn, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, said that the delivered US response to the Russian proposal has “very positive things that should be pursued”.
The Secretary of State argued that the US is committed to upholding a number of “core principles”, including “the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances”.
He has also noted that the US president, Joe Biden, “has been deeply involved in this from the get-go, reviewing various drafts of the proposal, making his own edits and of course blessing the final document that was delivered to Russia today”.
Blinken said that the US response to Russia was “fully coordinated with Ukraine and our European allies and partners, with whom we’ve been consulting continuously for weeks”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference later in the day, announcing that the alliance has also sent a written response to Russia.
Earlier, CNN reported that Washington’s written response lists general areas where Washington is ready to work with Moscow, including arms control and greater transparency, as well as the placement of missile systems.

Russian officials had previously indicated that its security proposals were to be taken as a package deal, and that the US and NATO could not simply pick and choose which points they liked like from a menu at a restaurant.

The White House indicated Tuesday that the US was not going to make public its response to the Russian proposals. Russia will keep the US response confidential if asked to do so, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

In mid-December, the Russian Foreign Ministry handed US diplomats a pair of security proposals designed to dramatically ease tensions between Russia and NATO in Europe. The draft agreements were published on the ministry’s website several days later.
The comprehensive draft treaties call for legally binding written guarantees by Russia on one side and the US and NATO on the other not to deploy troops, aircraft, warships and missile systems in areas where they might be considered a threat to the other side’s national security. The proposals also call for firm restrictions on the deployment of Russian and US nuclear weapons abroad.
The US and NATO are also asked to make several unilateral commitments, including a pledge not to continue NATO’s eastward expansion, and scrap any plans to incorporate Ukraine or any other former Soviet republic into the bloc. The Western alliance is also asked not to deploy additional troops and weapons systems on the territory of those NATO members which joined after the end of the Cold War. NATO and US officials have hinted that they would reject these requirements.
Russia formulated the twin proposals after years of eastward expansion by the Western alliance -despite guarantees made by US officials to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev not to expand the alliance “one inch east” of a reunified Germany following the Federal Republic’s annexation of the German Democratic Republic in 1990.
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