Russia objects to NATO meeting in Svalbards under 1920 pact

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2017 11:50 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign ministry is objecting to a meeting of lawmakers from NATO countries that is planned to take place in the Svalbard Islands next month.

Under a 1920 international treaty, the archipelago is under Norwegian rule. But all treaty signatories have the right to reside there and the islands are not to be used "for warlike purposes."

The foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the islands are an inappropriate venue for upcoming the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

"In the context of NATO's current course of 'restraining' Russia, accompanied by unprecedented military preparations near the borders of our country, attempts to drag Spitzbergen 'under the wing' of the military-political bloc...do not correspond to the spirit of the 1920 Treaty," the ministry said, using the islands' former name.