Secretary General thanks France for being a strong NATO Ally
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with French President François Hollande in Paris on Friday (3 June 2016) to discuss current security challenges and the Alliance’s agenda for the Warsaw Summit in July. Mr. Stoltenberg commended France for being “a strong NATO Ally, building security in Europe and beyond - from Mali to Syria.”
Mr. Stoltenberg thanked France for its contributions to NATO’s deployment in the Aegean Sea and for its important role in the Global Coalition against ISIL. He also welcomed that France will take the lead of NATO’s high-readiness Spearhead Force in the coming years. Mr. Stoltenberg further expressed appreciation for France’s efforts, along with Germany, “to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine”.
The Secretary General and President Hollande reviewed the Alliance’s agenda for the Warsaw Summit, including plans to enhance NATO’s forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. “This is a defensive and proportionate response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine”, Mr. Stoltenberg said. “Defence and dialogue are the two tracks of NATO’s approach to Russia, and we are moving forward on both tracks.”
The leaders also discussed how NATO could do more to project stability in the Alliance’s neighbourhood. “Turmoil and extremism in our neighbourhood can have a direct impact on our security here at home, as the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have recently shown us all,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
Mr. Stoltenberg and President Hollande also addressed the Alliance’s plans to take cooperation with the European Union to the next level at the Warsaw Summit. This should include increased cooperation in supporting partners, countering hybrid and cyber threats, and increasing maritime security.
During his two-day visit, the Secretary General also met with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault. On Friday, he is also meeting Patricia Adam, President of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee, and with parliamentarians.