Secretary General previews NATO Defence Ministers meeting
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg briefed media on Tuesday (9 February 2016) on the topics of this week’s Defence Ministers meeting. On Wednesday and Thursday, ministers will take further steps to reinforce the Alliance’s collective defence and deterrence. “Effective deterrence and defence requires both forward presence of Allied forces, and our ability to reinforce them quickly,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. Ministers are expected to agree on an enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
Defence Ministers will also take decisions to improve NATO’s response to hybrid attacks and speed up decision-making processes. The Secretary General highlighted that NATO “will develop ways to boost our resilience, the resilience of our Allies. Because our military forces depend on civilian resources, such as food and water supplies, communications and transportation.”
The Secretary General also underlined NATO’s commitment to helping Georgia move towards membership in the Alliance. At a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission, ministers will review progress on NATO’s substantial package of support for Georgia, and discuss how to intensify the Alliance’s support. They will also discuss Georgia’s domestic political and security reforms, which are bringing the country closer to NATO.
The Secretary General further addressed NATO’s support for all efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. “All NATO Allies are part of the counter-ISIL coalition,” he said, adding “I expect NATO to provide them with support.” Mr. Stoltenberg noted that Allies are actively considering the US request for NATO AWACS surveillance planes to backfill national capabilities, and that ministers are expected to address this issue at the Ministerial. “This would increase the coalition’s ability to conduct air strikes against ISIL,” he said. He stressed that NATO “strongly supports all efforts to end the suffering, reach a ceasefire and start a political transition in Syria.”