Ahead of Russia visit, Germany’s Baerbock insists talks can still succeed – POLITICO

German Foreign Minister Annallina Barbock on Friday played down the breakdown of negotiations between Russia and the West and said she would travel to Moscow for new talks next week.

The move comes after a week of dialogue between the United States, NATO and Russia over security concerns in Eastern Europe that has not satisfied Western fears that Moscow might invade Ukraine or the Kremlin is calling on Western allies to step back from their presence in the region.

However, Barbock argued that these were only the first steps in a broader set of discussions.

“There have been no joint talks with Russia within the framework of NATO for two years, and I don’t think anyone came to the negotiating table and thought:” We haven’t talked to each other for two years, and now we will talk in a few hours, solve everything that was not discussed in the past few years.

Russia has massed some 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, prompting US officials to warn that it may be planning military action. However, on Wednesday NATO allies and Russia ended nearly four hours of security talks in a standoff, with Moscow refusing to withdraw its forces and the West flatly rejecting Russian demands that NATO halt any eastern expansion and withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe.

“Diplomacy, especially in times of crisis, is characterized by the fact that it requires a lot of perseverance, a lot of patience and strong nerves,” Barbock said. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that there is no further escalation.”

Barbock’s call for further talks with Russia comes as Moscow’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that negotiations were at a “stalemate” and that Moscow saw no point in continuing talks with the West for the time being.

But Barbuk said she will travel to Moscow next week to meet her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

“Personally, it is very important to me that we make extensive use of the various conversation channels,” she said. “That is why I will also travel to Moscow next week for talks on all different levels.”

Her spokeswoman Maria Sacharoa said Barbock’s flight would take place on Tuesday, according to the German news agency DPA.

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