NATO Secretary General thanks Germany for leadership in challenging times
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Germany for its significant contributions to the Alliance during a visit to Berlin on Wednesday (14 January 2015). “Germany is a staunch and important ally,” the Secretary General said after meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We appreciate Germany's great contributions to our security."
The Secretary General and Chancellor Merkel discussed current security challenges. Mr Stoltenberg called the recent attacks in Paris a stark reminder of the current challenging security environment. “NATO is playing its role in fighting terror,” he said, highlighting NATO’s increased information sharing on foreign fighters, development of counter-explosive technologies, and contributions to training and capacity-building in partner countries. In this context, the Secretary General thanked Germany for its significant contributions to the coalition against ISIL.
The Secretary General and Chancellor Merkel also discussed NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, which has denied safe haven to international terrorists and strengthened the Afghan army and police. Mr Stoltenberg welcomed Germany’s continuing “crucial role” in the Afghanistan, both in the ISAF coalition and NATO's new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.
Secretary General Stoltenberg and Chancellor Merkel also discussed challenges to the east of the Alliance. Mr Stoltenberg made clear that NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia, and “aspires for a more constructive and cooperative relationship.” But the Secretary General stressed that Russia must respect the international rules-based system. He called on Russia to “respect the Minsk agreements” and withdraw its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Mr Stoltenberg and Chancellor Merkel discussed the implementation of the Readiness Action Plan as agreed at the Wales Summit and the pledge made by Allied leaders to invest more in defence and to spend more efficiently. The Secretary General thanked Germany for deploying forces for air policing and exercises, and for leading NATO’s interim high-readiness task force in 2015, and stressed Germany's crucial role in Europe and in NATO.
The Secretary General also had wide-ranging discussions on current security challenges and the implementation of the Wales Summit decisions with German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the foreign affairs and the defence committees of the Bundestag.