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NATO will not bring stability to the Caucasus – Kremlin

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NATO will not bring stability to the Caucasus – Kremlin

The bloc’s desire to gain a foothold in the region is no secret, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said

Russia is well aware of NATO’s attempts to court post-Soviet republics in the South Caucasus, but the bloc’s overtures will do the region no good, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov commented on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s tour of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia this week to strengthen relations with those countries.

Peskov said the NATO chief’s trip is further evidence of the bloc’s efforts to gain more influence in the region. “NATO’s overall aspiration to secure a strong foothold in the Caucasus is well known. One could see it with the naked eye.”

He also hinted that the US-led military bloc’s diplomatic offensive was “unlikely to bring any stability” to the region. Nevertheless, he emphasized that the three Caucasian countries visited by Stoltenberg have a sovereign right to maintain contacts with NATO.

“Of course, we are watching closely, but we intend to focus mainly on our bilateral relations… as far as regional countries are concerned,” the spokesman added.


Armenia

During his trip, Stoltenberg praised Azerbaijan and Armenia for their contributions to NATO operations. The bloc’s head also called on Baku and Yerevan to move towards normalizing relations marred by decades of tension over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The self-proclaimed republic broke away from Baku in the last days of the Soviet Union, but was officially dissolved last fall after a large-scale Azerbaijani operation in the region. This development triggered an exodus of ethnic Armenians from the region, who were the majority there.

Neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia is seeking to join NATO, and Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes five other post-Soviet states, including Russia. However, Yerevan recently suspended its participation in the CSTO, citing tensions with Azerbaijan.


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During his trip to Tbilisi, Stoltenberg described Georgia as “one of NATO’s closest partners,” and added that the bloc was still committed to the 2008 Bucharest summit decision that the country would eventually become a member. He also called on all regional post-Soviet republics to step up their support for Ukraine, while condemning what he called Moscow. “imperial ambition”.

In December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin warned that the US was seeking to open up “second front” against Moscow in the Caucasus, saying that any Western interference in local affairs could ultimately plunge the region into chaos.

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