NATO Secretary General and Chancellor Merkel discuss current security challenges
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a series of high-level meetings in the German capital Berlin on Wednesday and Thursday (26-27 August).
Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Chancellor Angela Merkel for her commitment to the transatlantic Alliance and her strong leadership, including in efforts to find a constructive way forward on the Eastern Mediterranean. He stressed that “the situation must be resolved in a spirit of Allied solidarity and in line with international law - dialogue and de-escalation are in everybody’s interest.”
Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated that all NATO Allies support a sovereign and independent Belarus. He made clear that NATO has no military build-up in the region “so any attempt to use that as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protesters is absolutely unjustified.” They also discussed a range of other issues, including NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, and the NATO 2030 reflection process to strengthen the Alliance.
Mr. Stoltenberg also addressed NATO missions and operations with German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Meeting Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the Secretary General outlined how NATO helps ensure that the COVID-19 crisis does not turn into a security crisis.
The Secretary General also attended the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence (26 August), hosted by the German Presidency of the European Union. He updated the ministers on NATO’s missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the Alliance is helping build up the capacity of the security forces and project stability. Mr. Stoltenberg also met with the EU High Representative / Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell. They discussed the importance of NATO-EU cooperation to deal with common challenges.
The Secretary General also met the Minister of National Defence of Greece Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and the Foreign Affairs Minister Nikolaos Dendias.