NATO Secretary General speaks with Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held separate phone calls with Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu of Estonia on Tuesday (8 September 2020), and with Foreign Ministers Edgars Rinkēvičs of Latvia, Linas Linkevičius of Lithuania, and Zbigniew Rau of Poland on Monday. The discussions covered a range of issues, including the ongoing crisis in Belarus, preparations for upcoming NATO ministerials, and ongoing consultations on the NATO 2030 reflection process.<!IoRangePreExecute>
The Secretary General reiterated that NATO is watching developments in Belarus closely, and called on the Belarusian authorities to demonstrate full respect for fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest. He also expressed serious concern over the arbitrary detentions and abductions of opposition figures, calling them unacceptable violations of international norms.
Mr. Stoltenberg said that the Alliance remains vigilant, strictly defensive, and ready to deter any aggression against NATO Allies. There is no NATO buildup in the region, and the ministers agreed with the Secretary General that no-one should use unfounded claims as a pretext to crack down on peaceful Belarusian protestors.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “All Allies support a sovereign and independent Belarus. Both Minsk and Moscow should respect the right of the Belarusian people to determine their own future.”
The Secretary General and the ministers also addressed the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent from the banned Novichok group. Allies are united in condemning the attack, and call on Russia to urgently demonstrate transparency and bring those responsible to justice. Allies also urge Russia to immediately disclose relevant information to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.