The West should take Russian proposals for a new security system in Europe seriously, the European Union's top diplomat told the prestigious Munich Security Conference on Saturday, dpa reported.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's call for a new security treaty in Europe "deserves to be taken seriously" and Europe and the United States "should engage in this discussion," EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana told some 350 top politicians.
Medvedev launched the call for an international treaty aimed at outlawing the use of force "from Vancouver to Vladivostok" in June.
His proposal came as tensions between Moscow and Washington were rising over plans by then-US president George W Bush to site elements of a US missile-defence system in Central Europe and to enlarge NATO to bring in Georgia and Ukraine.
Medvedev's call received a mixed response in Europe, which hardened in the wake of Russia's August war with Georgia over the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
That war was "a massive breach of a core principle that we hold very dear, the non-use of violence," Solana said.
But Solana said that the key problem in the relationship between Russia and the West was a lack of trust, which should be addressed by diplomatic means.
Russian fears that the West is a threat to its security are "absurd," but must be addressed by creating a "climate of cooperation" between Europe, the US and Russia, he said.At the same time, he insisted that any new deal would have to preserve the role of the US in European security and the freedom of European states to choose their allies, and ban the idea of "privileged spheres of influence" in Europe.