Deputy Secretary General addresses NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Halifax
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller stressed the importance of Alliance unity in a keynote address to the 64th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Halifax, Canada on Monday (19 November 2018). Noting that unity among allies has underpinned Euro-Atlantic security for almost seventy years, she thanked parliamentarians for their support for NATO. She said: “There is nothing stronger than this Alliance when it is united, and when our publics are behind it. In that, your support is essential.”
Ms. Gottemoeller acknowledged that “the bonds that unite us are under strain”, pointing to serious differences on issues like trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal. However, she underlined that differences of view are normal among friends and Allies, and have been overcome before. Pointing to the Suez Crisis, France’s departure from the NATO command structure in the 1960s, and the Iraq War in the early 2000s, she said “despite all of this, when it came to the crunch, when it came to our commitment to stand together and protect each other, we remained united.”
The Deputy Secretary General raised NATO’s recent Exercise Trident Juncture as an example of Allies and partners working together for collective security. She also welcomed recent increases in defence spending among Canada and European Allies, amounting to an additional $87 billion since 2014.
Turning to current security challenges, Ms. Gottemoeller highlighted serious concerns over Russia’s compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Noting that Allies first raised concerns that Russia might be in violation several years ago, she said “at the time, Russia categorically denied developing a new missile. Now they have finally admitted that it does exist. And this new weapons system has placed the INF Treaty at serious risk. If a treaty is only respected by one party, it cannot effectively keep us safe.” Signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF Treaty eliminated an entire category of weapons. “Now is the time for dialogue,” said Ms. Gottemoeller, “but it is also time for action by Russia to allay our very serious concerns.”
Previewing next month’s meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels, the Deputy Secretary General noted that the INF Treaty will be discussed, as well as burden sharing, NATO’s training efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and current developments in the Western Balkans.
Ms. Gottemoeller is concluding a three day visit to Canada. On Saturday and Sunday, she participated in the Halifax International Security Forum, along with Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. While in Halifax, Ms. Gottemoeller also had a series of bilateral meetings, including with Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, and a US Congressional delegation.