Deputy Secretary General addresses NATO’s Warsaw Summit objectives in Lisbon
In a keynote speech at the Portuguese Parliament on Thursday (23 June 2016), NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow addressed key objectives for the Warsaw Summit, NATO’s response to current security challenges and the significance the Alliance attaches to maritime security.
Ambassador Vershbow underlined Portugal’s unique and long-standing contribution to the Alliance and the transatlantic bond. He noted that Portuguese soldiers have served under the NATO flag in Afghanistan, Portuguese sailors have led NATO’s Standing Maritime Group, and Portuguese F-16 pilots contribute to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing, helping to keep Allied borders secure.
Addressing NATO’s adaptation to current security challenges, Ambassador Vershbow stressed that the Alliance’s maritime capabilities are essential. Mr. Vershbow stressed that Portugal has played an important role in NATO’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia, helping preserve and protect freedom of navigation. He added that the Alliance will refine its presence in the Baltic and Black Sea and explore a greater maritime role in the Mediterranean Sea, including in support of the European Union’s Operation Sophia.
Ambassador Vershbow also outlined three key objectives of the Warsaw Summit in July: enhancing NATO’s collective defence and deterrence, projecting stability beyond the Alliance’s borders and expanding cooperation with the European Union. He noted that there is an opportunity for the Alliance to support partners’ maritime capabilities. “Our support can enhance partners’ maritime interdiction operations, their counter-terrorism efforts and their ability to provide humanitarian assistance,” he said. Mr. Vershbow added that the Warsaw Summit will guide the Alliance’s future direction, ensuring that NATO remains “an essential source of stability in an uncertain and unpredictable world.”
During his visit to Lisbon, Ambassador Vershbow met with senior defence officials and with parliamentarians, including the Chairman of the National Defence Committee of Portugal’s Parliament, Marco António Costa.