European security isn’t NATO prerogative – Medvedev
President Dmitry Medvedev has said in an interview to state TV channel Rossiya that a new model of European security is an alternative to NATO expansion in all directions.
According to the president, rather than the alliance becoming more secure, it is, on the contrary, becoming fragmentary.
“Security has been fragmented. I believe no one is satisfied with it, no matter what our negotiation partners tell us. A new approach is required,” he stated.
“What is better: to create a new security matrix or to hold war games in the region where a military operation took place less than a year ago?” Medvedev added, pointing out NATO exercises in Georgia.
He noted that European security institutions were created in the 1970s and are now outdated:
“Since we’ve had the Helsinki Act of Security and Cooperation, we need a new accord as well, not against NATO, but for the purpose of providing security in Europe.”
“We do not have a universal discussion forum where we could consider all these [security] issues. We are told that security in Europe is ensured by the expansion of one military and political bloc.”
This, however, is not true, Medvedev believes:
“Security in Europe means a range of components. It includes all the European states as well as the US and Canada. It means participation.”
SB: The Russia-EU summit is about to take place in Russia. This time it will not happen in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi or even Khanty-Mansiysk, where you’d brought the Europeans once before. This time it will be in Khabarovsk, which is far away from Europe. President Medvedev, why Khabarovsk?
DM: Russia is a large country. Last year at the meeting with our EU colleagues I was the one to suggest that they should go and see for themselves what Russia looks like in its areas beyond the European part, not only the Urals or Siberia for example, but the Far East also. Considering the fact that we view this space as the European area in the broad meaning of this word, this idea came up and our European colleagues agreed to it. I believe they’ll be interested to see what our Far East looks like and what’s more important they will have the opportunity to really feel Russia. Thus our relations will become more fundamental, precise and understanding. And the issue of understanding is always relevant in foreign policy.
SB: Yes, especially in relations with the EU, if we remember the events of August last year. Putting several themes together, we have relations with Europe represented by the EU and by NATO. Today we see yet another sort of tension in these relations. Could you sum up what you’ve heard from your European colleagues in response to your suggestions about making a new European Security treaty or renewing the existing one? What are we expecting to happen?
DM: The previous set of the European Institutions formed in the 1970s had been providing security in Europe. They’d played their role already. Now we have a range of state unions in Europe. We have the North Atlantic Alliance, but we don’t have a universal platform for considering all the issues. The idea of the European Security Treaty was related exactly to that. What’s been happening in the 1990s and in the present decade? Unfortunately the situation is Europe hasn’t become more secure. On the contrary, we are explained that security has been maintained in Europe by the means of expanding one military political bloc.
The military-political bloc has been expanding and security has been split into fragments. I believe no one is satisfied with it, no matter what our negotiation partners tell us. New approaches are required. Since we’ve had the Helsinki Act of Security and Cooperation, we need a new document as well, not against NATO but for the purpose of providing security in Europe. Security in Europe means a range of components. It includes and all the European states, as well as the US and Canada. It means participation of all the European associations such as NATO, the EU, CIS and CSTO. I believe if we manage to weave such a new matrix of relations, it would be very efficient. It would be certainly better that promoting NATO into all the areas. In any case we are not satisfied with this approach and we’ll be reacting to it. Wouldn’t it be better to form a new security construction rather than hold the military training in close proximity to the areas where the war had taken place less than a year ago? We just want to reach a new level of security for our country and for our people, in view of that difficult experience of the 20th century.