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EU foreign ministers refine position in NATO-Russia crisis

"The European Union is certainly ready to respond directly to any aggression but our preference ... is that of dialogue and negotiations," EU foreign policy Josep Borrell said in a press conference in Brest on the west coast of France.

DPA WORLD
Published January 14,2022
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EU foreign ministers refined their position in the NATO-Russia crisis over Ukraine with a unified 10-point approach on Friday.

"The European Union is certainly ready to respond directly to any aggression but our preference ... is that of dialogue and negotiations," EU foreign policy Josep Borrell said in a press conference in Brest on the west coast of France.

The approach reached on the last day of an informal meeting for France's EU presidency is a distillation of previous EU positions taken since the start of the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine's border. It lays out a mixture of deterrence measures and opportunities for dialogue.

One example is the continued preparation of coordinated sanctions with the United States and other allies, but coupled with the possibility of new confidence-building measures such as arms control talks.

The EU foreign ministers called again on Moscow to de-escalate the situation and reaffirmed their solidarity with Ukraine.

The EU's top diplomat took the opportunity again to address perceived criticism that the EU has been excluded from the high-level security talks between the United States, NATO and Russia.

Borrell said the US and the bloc had a united front in the talks and that Russia's attempts to divide them "by jumping over the EU" had failed.

The EU's top diplomat also said a new agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear capabilities is looking possible, noting that the atmosphere in the ongoing Vienna negotiations has improved.

"I was pessimistic prior to that, but now I think we can reach an agreement. I think we need to speed things up," said Borrell.

"This is a work of great importance, and in the next few weeks, I hope we'll be able to inform you of the final results," he said.