German Foreign Minister slams NATO’s ‘warmongering’ against Russia

Berlin, June 19 (IANS) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticised recent military manoeuvres of NATO in Eastern Europe against Russia, accusing the military alliance of “warmongering”, and calling for more dialogues with Russia.

“What we shouldn’t do now is to inflame the situation further with loud saber-rattling and warmongering,” Xinhua news agency quoted Steinmeier as saying in an interview to a local newspaper.

“Anyone who believes that a symbolic tank parade on the eastern border of the alliance will bring more security is mistaken,” he said, “We are well advised not to create pretexts to renew an old confrontation.”

NATO launched a large-scale exercise in Poland on June 6. The two-week drill involved 31,000 troops, 14,000 of them from the United States.

On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced to deploy four multinational battalions to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Steinmeier warned that it would be “fatal to narrow the view to the military and to seek the tranquillity only through deterrence”. Instead, dialogues and cooperation were also needed.

“We must also enhance dialogues with our partners about the benefits of disarmament and arms control for security in Europe,” the top German diplomat said, adding that it was in people’s interests “to unite Russia in an international partnership of responsibility”.

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