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Steinmeier Calls For New Arms Deal With Russia To Avoid Accidental War


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for a news arms control deal with Russia to avoid an accidental war.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for a news arms control deal with Russia to avoid an accidental war.

Germany's foreign minister is calling for a new arms control deal with Moscow as intensified military exercises by Russia and NATO have raised concerns that a war could inadvertently be triggered.

In an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on August 26, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that while Russia has since 2014 violated the bonds of trust built up over decades as well as basic principles of peace, "we must all be united in the desire to avoid a further twist in the escalating spiral."

In 2014, Russia illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine and began backing separatists fighting Kyiv's forces in eastern Ukraine.

A new arms control process would offer a "proven means for transparency, risk avoidance, and trust building," he said.

"We want a structured dialogue with all partners who carry responsibility for the security of our continent," perhaps working through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE], he said.

His comments follow an appeal by former NATO foreign and defense ministers on August 24 for an agreement with Russia on rules for handling unexpected military encounters.

Steinmeier drew some criticism in June for calling NATO's recent military exercises and moves to bolster forces in eastern Europe "saber-rattling and shrill war cries" that could worsen tensions with Russia.

With reporting by Reuters

* This story has been amended to include a reference to the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

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