Putin, Biden discuss Moscow's security proposals in year-end telephone call
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 11:29, December 31, 2021
MOSCOW, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden discussed Russia's recent security proposals during their telephone call, the Kremlin said Friday.
"Both leaders discussed agreements reached during their previous consultations on Dec. 7, including the decision to launch negotiations on the provision of legal guarantees aimed at ensuring Russia's security," it said in a statement.
Putin explained the underlying principles behind the draft security treaty between Russia and the United States, and the draft agreement between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states.
It was emphasized that the outcome of joint cooperation should yield legal guarantees against NATO's eastward expansion and the alliance's deployment of weapons systems near Russia's borders.
Putin and Biden agreed on the importance of serious and meaningful dialogue on these matters, and confirmed that upcoming security talks between Moscow and Washington would be carried out in three formats.
The first round of negotiations will take place in Geneva on Jan. 9-10, 2022. They will later continue in Brussels within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council on Jan. 12, and within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Jan. 13.
Biden in turn emphasized that Russia and the United States bear a special responsibility for ensuring stability in Europe and the world, and assured that Washington would not deploy offensive weapons in Ukraine.
Putin noted that imposing wide-ranging sanctions against Russia in case of a possible escalation of events would be a "grave mistake" and could lead to a major "rupture in Russia-U.S. ties."
Both presidents agreed to continue the dialogue and closely monitor all upcoming negotiations.
"In general, the conversation was frank and businesslike. It was useful to both parties," the Kremlin statement added.
The roughly one-hour call came ahead of the upcoming Russia-U.S. security talks scheduled for January 2022 in Geneva. Moscow said it expects to receive a direct response to its security proposals during these consultations.
The leaders' first in-person summit was also held in Geneva on June 16 this year, at a time when the international community largely agreed that U.S.-Russia relations were at their lowest point in years. During the summit, the two leaders discussed issues including strategic stability and cybersecurity.
Despite a lack of breakthroughs during their meeting and many remaining contradictions, their consultations back then demonstrated that both sides were willing to launch a dialogue with the aim of preventing a further escalation of tensions.
At another virtual summit on Dec. 7, they discussed the situation in Ukraine, the Iran nuclear deal, cybersecurity, and bilateral ties, among other issues.
On the situation in Ukraine, Biden threatened to take "strong economic and other measures" together with U.S. allies against Moscow should Russia "invade" Ukraine, and the Russian president, in turn, urged his counterpart not to "shift responsibility" and asked for guarantees against NATO's eastward expansion.
Following the meeting, Russia sent two draft documents to the United States and NATO, both on security guarantees in Europe, for the Western countries to consider.
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