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Russian lawmakers ready for inter-parliamentary contacts with US on security guarantees

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The West must give Russia legally binding security guarantees and the Russian State Duma, or lower parliament house, is ready for inter-parliamentary cooperation with the United States on this matter, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma international committee, said on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s year-end news conference.

Putin told the news conference that Washington had expressed its readiness to discuss Russia’s proposals on security guarantees “at the very beginning of next year in Geneva,” His press secretary Dmitry Peskov said later that it may be held in January 2022.

“We hope for constructive talks that are expected to begin at the beginning of the next year in Geneva. On our part, we are ready for inter-parliamentary cooperation, including on these problems, but the ball in of the US side of the pitch,” Slutsky wrote on his Telegram channel.

“The West must give Russia security guarantees. These should be legally binding, rather than verbal guarantees, on all the provisions offered by Moscow,” he emphasized. He recalled Putin words that the West had “cheated, outrageously deceived” Russia by promising not to expand NATO eastwards.

On December 17, the Russian foreign ministry released two Russian draft agreements in security guarantees from the United States and NATO. Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that Moscow was ready to begin talks on draft documents on security guarantees.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on NATO to begin substantive talks on reliable long-term security guarantees to Russia. He stressed that Russia needs legally binding guarantees because the West has failed to fulfill its verbal commitments.

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