NATO Defence Ministers to address key issues for the Alliance

  • 23 Oct. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 23 Oct. 2019 14:35

NATO Defence Ministers will meet in Brussels this week (24-25 October 2019) to address key issues for the Alliance. Ahead of the two-day meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined the topics for discussion, including NATO missions and operations, increasing the readiness of NATO forces, progress towards fairer burden-sharing, and the resilience of telecommunications systems.

Ministers will also discuss the situation in northeast Syria. The Secretary General welcomed the significant reduction in violence following the joint statement by Turkey and the United States. “It is important that all forces on the ground act with restraint and with full respect of international humanitarian law,” he said. Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that recent developments underscore the urgent need for a political solution.

“It is also important that we safeguard the gains we have made together against ISIS,” said the Secretary General. He stressed that NATO plays an important role in the fight against terrorism. On Thursday, Ministers will discuss the NATO training mission in Iraq, and the Alliance’s commitment to Afghanistan.

Ministers will also discuss NATO’s response to hybrid threats, and work to ensure the resilience of Allied societies. While civilian infrastructure is a national responsibility, Article 3 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty indicates that resilience is part of every Ally’s commitment to NATO, and to each other. “That is why NATO defence ministers will agree an update to our baseline requirements for civilian telecommunications,” said the Secretary General. He explained that the requirement is for all Allies to have reliable communication systems in peacetime, crisis and conflict, including for 5G. “It means that Allies should conduct a thorough assessment of the risks to communications systems associated with cyber threats, as well as the consequences of foreign ownership, control or direct investment,” he added.

The Secretary General underlined that the discussions this week will set the stage for the meeting of NATO leaders in London, where Allies will take decisions to further adapt and strengthen NATO.