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Macron calls for new EU security agreement in a ‘sincere’ dialogue with Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech to the European Parliament at the beginning of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, during a plenary session in Strasbourg, France, on 19 January 2022. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

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  • Macron calls for a security agreement between the EU and Russia
  • The call comes amid negotiations between Russia and the United States over the Ukraine crisis
  • Some European states fear that they will be bypassed
  • Macron says he will discuss any proposal with NATO

STRASBOURG, France, January 19 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on his EU colleagues to work together to draft a new security deal with Russia in the coming weeks, involving a "sincere dialogue" with Moscow. .

Speaking amid growing concerns over a Russian military build-up at Ukraine's borders, Macron did not specify what the "new order of stability and security" he was seeking could entail, but said it should ensure Europe defends its interests.

"We want to make sure that Europe makes its unique and strong voice heard," he told the European Parliament as he set France's priorities for its sixth month of EU presidency.

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Earlier, during a visit to Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russia could launch a new attack at "very short notice", but that Washington would pursue diplomacy for as long as it could. Read more

Some European states fear that they will be bypassed and their security concerns ignored, as Russia deals directly with Washington in security negotiations across the continent - with some coordination with the EU.

"It is good that Europeans and the United States are coordinating, but it is necessary for Europeans to have their own dialogue," Macron said. "We must put together a common proposal, a common vision, a new order of security and stability for Europe."

Europeans wanted to share the proposal with NATO allies before discussing it with Russia, he said.

A supporter of the EU having its own "strategic autonomy" in the field of defense, Macron added that the bloc must enable itself to ensure that "it can be respected", including by ensuring that it is not too dependent on Russia for its energy supplies.

Macron, who faces a three-month election, said France and Germany want to continue to seek a solution to tensions over Ukraine in negotiations with both Russia and Ukraine.

A bid by Macron for better ties between the EU and Russia in July 2019 failed when former Soviet-Baltic countries feared a Russian trap to win concessions from the bloc.

They believe that such diplomacy should be run through the NATO-Russia Council, a forum that has long served as a platform for discussing security issues and complaints.

NATO itself will soon send its written proposals to Russia, which responds to Moscow's security requirements and proposes serious talks on arms control and transparency measures, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday.

Separately, Macron told the European Parliament that the EU must review its relations with the Western Balkans and offer them sincere prospects of joining the bloc.

The EU must also propose a new alliance to African countries, he said, adding that the EU and African countries would discuss it at a summit in February.

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Reporting by Benoit van Overstraeten, Myriam Rivet, Ingrid Melander, Tangi Salaün and Tassilo Hummel; writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Hugh Lawson, William Maclean and Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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