Secretary General discusses European Defence and Ukraine in Greece

  • 21 Feb. 2014 - 21 Feb. 2014
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  • Last updated: 21 Feb. 2014 11:32

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed European efforts to develop military capabilities with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday (21 February 2014), wrapping up a two-day visit to Athens which included attending an informal meeting of EU defence ministers. “As the holder of the presidency of the European Union, Greece is especially well placed to make sure that the countries of Europe do develop their capabilities and their strength. This would benefit NATO, the EU and the world,” the Secretary General said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is  welcomed by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

It is vital that European countries play their full part and “and take their full share of responsibility for security,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said after his talks with the prime minister. He said that it is important that EU nations carry through on commitments made by EU leaders at their December European Council to improve defence capabilities. This is the message the Secretary General also gave at the informal EU defence ministerial on Thursday.

The Secretary General said that in September at the NATO Summit in Wales “we will put new energy” into the relationship between Europe and North America. “We all need Europe to be strong, so that we can continue to protect our values, and our interests”, said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

During a press conference with Prime Minister Samaras, the NATO Secretary General also spoke about Ukraine: “I condemn the outrageous bloodshed in Ukraine. I urge all parties to stop this tragic spiral of violence. The Ukrainian government has a special responsibility to ensure that the armed forces do not get involved in this political crisis. The Ukrainian military and special forces should not turn on the people of Ukraine. That would have severe consequences for our partnership with Ukraine. The only way forward is dialogue. So I welcome all efforts to find a peaceful solution. NATO is an alliance based on values –freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. And we stand together against all threats to our security”.