NATO's Parliamentary Assembly President, US Congressman Michael R. Turner speaks in Albania(Photo:Ap)

NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly President, US Congressman Michael R. Turner speaks in Albania(Photo:Ap)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly urged alliance members Monday to stand up to Russia’s military assertiveness and to do a better job sharing the burden of collective defense. The assembly president, American lawmaker Michael R. Turner, declared that «Russia’s aggressiveness comes with a price» as he appealed to European partners to boost defense spending, reports Associated Press.

NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly President, US Congressman Michael R. Turner speaks at the Spring session urging alliance members to show resolve to Russia’s increased military assertiveness and better share the burden of collective defense at the July summit, in Tirana, Monday. Some 250 parliamentarians from 28 NATO-member countries and partners have gathered in a three-day session in the Albanian capital, Tirana under tight security measures.

«Moscow has decided that its own interests are better served if it works against us rather than with us,» said Turner, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio. «The challenge from Russia is real and serious.»

Will maintain dialogue

NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said NATO would maintain dialogue with Russia «but there can be no return to ‘business as usual’ … until Russia once again demonstrates respect for international law and the norms of international behavior.» Vershbow said NATO members would seek to strengthen the alliance’s defense capabilities and logistical support for other allies bordering Russia at an alliance summit in Warsaw in July. He urged members to follow through on their commitment at the alliance’s previous summit to raise defense spending to at least 2 percent of national economic output within the coming decade.

-We are pursuing a twin-track approach with political dialogue, but dialogue from a position of strength, he said. About 250 lawmakers from 28 NATO member countries and partners are holding a three-day meeting in the Albanian capital, Tirana, amid tight security. They plan to debate NATO policy on terrorism, mass migration, the Ukraine crisis and security in the Western Balkans.

NATO-Russian Council

The first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in nearly two years ran over schedule Wednesday but failed to do much to improve relations between Moscow and the U.S.-led alliance, at their lowest ebb since the Cold War. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addresses the media after a NATO-Russia Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday April 20, 2016. The NATO-Russia Council is meeting for the first time since 2014, with the U.S.-led alliance planning to object to what it deems provocative and dangerous actions by the Russian military. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday’s meeting should discuss improving “mechanisms of risk reduction related to military activities.

-NATO and Russia have profound and persistent differences,» NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the council, told reporters afterward. «Wednesdays meeting didn’t change that.» «It’s better to talk than not to talk,» said Russian Ambassador Alexander Grushko, who met with counterparts from NATO’s 28 member states, reports Associated Press.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was leading the NATO Russian asssembly in Brussels recently(Photo: Thierry Chalier)

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was leading the NATO Russian asssembly in Brussels recently(Photo: Thierry Chalier)

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