ArmInfo. The North Atlantic Alliance is going through a difficult period of pressure. The special representative of the NATO Secretary General in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, said this on March 12 at the "NATO Partnerships: France's view' conference in Yerevan at the French University of Armenia.
According to him, the so-called borders outlined after World War II change, after 2014 a conflict situation arose. Appathurai recalled that until 2014 between Russia and NATO was quite dynamic cooperation in several areas. "And we hoped that our interaction would continue in the same direction, but Russia chose a different path. What became clear from one of the speeches of Russian leader Vladimir Putin in 2017," he said, adding that the annexation of Crimea, military actions in the Black Sea, unfriendly rhetoric regarding NATO-Georgia relations, the suspension of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short Range Missiles, INF, is not a complete list of unfriendly actions of Russia in the recent period.
At the same time, Appathurai assured that the development of relations with Russia continues to be important for NATO, and the alliance hopes to see a positive trend in this direction.
"We consider development of relations with partners, assistance to strengthen sovereignty in defense and security issues as an alternative way to NATO. Another direction for us is to increase our involvement in the processes in the Middle East, including Iraq and its neighboring countries, due to threats emanating from ISIL, " the NATO Special Representative said.
At the same time, Appaturai stated that NATO is actively reforming today in order to better deal with modern threats, especially in terms of cyber security. According to him, all member countries of the Alliance are subject to cyber threats, and NATO is working closely with the EU on this issue in order to more effectively deal with this challenge.
According to the representative of the alliance, a lot of work in peacekeeping in Afghanistan and Kosovo. "At all meetings, I express gratitude to the Armenian side for the contribution they make to international peace and security," Appathurai said.
At the same time, he expressed the conviction that every country should have the right of choice on one issue or another. "European history has already demonstrated what can happen in the absence of freedom of choice. But, as you know, Russia does not like the open door policy of NATO and the European Union. However, I am deeply convinced that cooperation should continue, including with Russia," he said.
Commenting on the intention of Europe to form its own army, Appathurai expressed the conviction that there is no equal in the matter of ensuring protection of NATO, and we need to approach this issue in such a way as to avoid dubbing. He also believes that today there is serious pressure on Europe from both the United States and from within.