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Russia hopes for negotiations with US over security guarantees

MOSCOW, Jan 14 (KUNA) -- Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday expressed hope for continuing negotiations with the US over the security guarantees.
Speaking at a news conference about his country's stance on the regional and international issues, Lavrov said Russia is waiting for receiving written answers about the proposals on these guarantees.
If the US and the NATO write guarantees on Russia's relevant proposals, this will show their seriousness in dealing with Moscow, he said.
He reiterated the necessity of providing written legal guarantees on neither expanding the NATO nor spreading weapons near Russia's borders.
He called on the NATO to return to its borders before 1997 when Russia signed with it a cooperation deal.
Lavrov declined to reply to a question on the measures to be taken by Russia if the NATO refuses to offer written guarantees.
Furthermore, he blamed the EU for previously severing all ties with Russia, saying that Russia looks forward to an independent role by the EU.
He said that Russia is ready to resume normal relations with the EU based on mutual respect and searching for balanced interests.
On Thursday, Russia described that the talks on security guarantees with the US and NATO as "unsuccessful." The two rounds of negotiations - between Russia and the US on January 10, and Russia and NATO on January 12 - revealed that the parties have some differences on fundamental issues, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a daily briefing in Moscow.
Commenting on NATO's call for Russia to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border, Peskov said the alliance cannot dictate to Russia "how and where to move its military forces on its own territory", according to Anadolu Agency.
Furthermore, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Monday said Russia's military build-up around Ukraine continues with tens of thousands of combat-ready troops, armed with heavy capabilities.
"Any further aggression against Ukraine would come at a high political and economic price," he told a news conference along with the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Ms Olga Stefanishyna, at NATO headquarters. (end) as.hm