EU Wants to Participate in US-Russia Talks

EU Wants to Participate in US-Russia Talks

Talks between the US and Russia on the Ukraine conflict are scheduled to occur on January 10. The EU foreign affairs representative Borrell is now calling for the EU to participate while the US wants to stick to the bilateral format.

In the run-up to the planned talks between the USA and Russia on the Ukraine conflict, EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell has called for the European Union to participate. “We do not want to and must not be an uninvolved audience, “ said Borrell.

Washington has only assured the Europeans of “transparency and solidarity” in relation to the talks planned in Geneva on January 10, but no direct participation. The exchange with Russia takes place in the bilateral format of the strategic security dialogue, said the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, on Tuesday.

However, Price also emphasized that the principle with regard to the allies is “Nothing about them without them.” The aim of the talks is to achieve “common goals”. In the past, the allies were “always fully and thoroughly informed” and an agreement of “principled diplomacy” with Russia was applied.

Borrell said Moscow wanted “two actors who share their spheres of influence” without involving the EU. “We won’t accept that.” Moscow’s call for security guarantees and an end to the eastward expansion of the EU and NATO was rejected by the EU diplomat as “a purely Russian agenda with completely unacceptable terms, especially with a view to Ukraine”. One cannot compromise on “fundamental principles”, and the right of a state to decide on alliances itself is not negotiable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded security guarantees for his country from NATO. He wants to stop NATO’s eastward expansion and prevent Ukraine from joining, threatening Russia. The western military alliance has so far shown no willingness to accommodate.

US State Department spokesman Price also stated that some Russian proposals were unacceptable to the US and its European “allies and partners”. He assumes, however, that an open dialogue and open diplomacy could be constructive to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict.

The White House announced on Tuesday that representatives of the US and Russia would speak about the conflict in Ukraine on January 10. Whether US President Joe Biden and Russian President Putin will also meet directly is not yet known.

The talks between the two countries are the first sign of a possible detente in the renewed conflict between Russia and the West. This had previously worsened for weeks. Kyiv and Western governments accused Russia of having drawn tens of thousands of soldiers on the border with Ukraine. There were fears that the Russian army might invade the neighbouring country. Moscow denied any plans to attack and, in turn, accused Ukraine of provocations.

Image by European Parliament (Flickr)/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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