Secretary General discusses security issues with world leaders in Munich
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined other world leaders for talks while at the Munich Security Conference on Friday and Saturday (14-15 February 2020). He had discussions with heads of state and government, ministers, parliamentarians and officials.
The Secretary General and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani discussed the way forward for the peace process. Mr Stoltenberg expressed NATO’s readiness to adjust troop levels, provided the Taliban show the willingness and ability to reduce violence and pave the way for negotiations among Afghans. He stressed NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan, as our training mission strengthens the national security forces in their fight against terrorism and helps create the conditions for peace. The Secretary General also met with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
With President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Secretary General discussed the situation in and around Ukraine. He commended Ukraine for its progress on reforms and reiterated NATO’s strong political and practical support. He also welcomed the momentum in the Normandy format talks.
The Secretary General also met with the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković. Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed that Croatia has assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and stressed the importance of NATO’s partnership with the EU. They also discussed security issues relevant to the Alliance.
The NATO Secretary General also met the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. They discussed relations between NATO and Russia, the situation in Ukraine, the need for transparency and risk reduction, arms control, and the peace process in Afghanistan. Mr Stoltenberg recalled NATO’s dual-track approach of strong deterrence and defence and political dialogue with Russia.
In his meeting with the State Councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China, the Secretary General recalled that NATO is an alliance of values, such as freedom, democracy and individual liberty. He stressed that while NATO and China may not agree on many issues, there is potential for dialogue in areas such as arms control, and the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Mr Stoltenberg expressed his condolences on the loss of lives due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Secretary General also met with important NATO partners: the Australian defence minister Linda Reynolds and the Japanese defence minister Taro Kono. They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation further and regional security issues.
Secretary General Stoltenberg also took part in the meeting of the defence ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He briefed on NATO’s decision in principle to enhance its training mission in Iraq. As a first step, this will consist of NATO taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities in the country. The Secretary General underlined that NATO is in Iraq at the request of the government and the Alliance would continue to consult closely with the Iraqi authorities.
Mr Stoltenberg also had talks with the US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillete. He met the US Congressional delegation led by Senator Lindsey Graham, for a wide-ranging discussion on the importance of the US and Europe working together in an age of greater global competition.