Throughout 2020 the ELN has lent its support to an extended series of detailed senior expert discussions led by ELN members Sergey Rogov and Alexey Gromyko on how NATO and Russia might reduce the risk of inadvertent conflict. The experts group has comprised some 30 people including retired diplomats and military officers from the United States, Russia and Europe. The recommendations that have come out of these discussions, signed by 145 people from 20 countries, including 48 ELN network members, call on leaders in the US, Russia and Europe to demonstrate the political will necessary to take a number of urgent actions in order to reduce the risks of military conflict. The full text in English, Russian, French and Polish can be found here.
The National Interest article promoting the recommendations, co-authored by the ELN Director Adam Thomson, Sergey Rogov, and Alexander Vershbow, can be found here.
This is not a plan for a “reset” or a return to “business as usual.” Relations between NATO member states and Russia are complex and troubled. It will take concerted efforts by both sides to move their interaction to a more positive plane. In the meantime, however, policymakers and military leaders should explore the kinds of reciprocal measures we suggest. No one has an interest in accidentally or inadvertently stumbling into war. By the same token, these steps can contribute to an atmosphere in which resolution of the fundamental issues that divide us could eventually become more achievable.
Image: Flickr, Edward Kimmel