US, Russia agree on further contacts after presidential talks: White House

Washington and Moscow agreed to hold further contacts in the context of the recent video conference between the presidents of Russia and the United States, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has told reporters, News.Az reports citing TASS. 

When asked to comment on US President Joe Biden’s earlier remarks about a forthcoming announcement on high-level meetings of Russia and NATO representatives to address Moscow’s security concerns, Psaki replied that Biden was scheduled to hold a phone conversation with leaders of the B9 group of nations. "And, of course, we are in touch every single day with a number of NATO Allies and partners," she added.

"When he [Biden] had the conversation with President Putin, they discussed and agreed to have their teams follow up in ongoing discussions and engagements," the press secretary said. "In terms of any other format or forum, there is no current mechanism for that. But right now, our focus is on engaging with the Europeans, many of our NATO Allies; doing that at a very high level, as the President referenced; and also following up, as was discussed in his call with President Putin."

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden held two hours of talks on a video call on December 7. According to the statements both sides issued later, the situation in Ukraine and NATO’s growing activity near Russia’s borders were in focus. The sides also discussed bilateral relations, cyber security and the Iranian nuclear deal.

The next day after the conversation Biden said that Washington was going to announce by Friday a series of high-level meetings with representatives from the United States’ "four key allies" on NATO-Russia relations to discuss Moscow’s concerns over the alliance’s actions and the possibility of giving it security guarantees.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier called on NATO to start talks to give Russia "reliable and long-term security guarantees." Moscow will be insisting in its dialogue with Washington and its allies "on producing concrete agreements" that would rule out NATO’s further eastward expansion or the deployment near Russian territory of weapon systems threatening its security, Putin said. Putin said Russia needed legally binding guarantees because the West had walked back on its previous verbal commitments.


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