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NATO, U.S. Want Dialogue With Russia 'From Position Of Strength'

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance and the new U.S. administration agree on the need for dialogue with Russia "from a position of strength."

Stoltenberg said on January 31 that in phone conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis, "they all conveyed the same message: that the United States remains committed to NATO and the transatlantic bond."

"The message of the new administration is that they also want dialogue with Russia but from a position of strength," he added.

Relations between NATO and Russia have sunk to lows not seen since the Cold War amid tension over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, its backing of insurgents in eastern Ukraine, its involvement in the Syrian conflict, and other issues.

Trump, who took office on January 20, has called for improved relations with Russia and has rattled Europe with criticism of NATO and praise for Britain's plans to leave the EU.

He has called NATO "obsolete" but also said the alliance is still "very important" to him.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS