NATO Secretary General participates in high level discussion on global peace and security
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took part in a discussion on Wednesday (8 December 2021) on “Peace policy in our time”, organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The event marked the 50th Anniversary of the former German Chancellor Willy Brandt being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Stoltenberg explained how Willy Brandt was an inspiration to him and for generations of political leaders. The Secretary General went on to highlight that, in terms of security policy, the most important lesson learned from Willy Brandt was his approach to the then Soviet Union: the need for strong deterrence and defence, combined with political dialogue.
“That's exactly what NATO does today,” said Mr Stoltenberg, “We have what we call the dual track approach to Russia; deterrence, defence but also dialogue. And there's no contradiction, as Willy Brandt pointed out, between being firm in our approach to our neighbour in the East, at the same time engaging in dialogue.” Addressing Russia’s current military build-up in and around Ukraine, the Secretary General said, “We call on Russia to de-escalate, to withdraw, to reduce tensions, and to be transparent about their intentions.”
The Secretary General also underlined that, “One of the most important documents that actually came out of Ostpolitik was the Helsinki Final Act, that all countries in Europe subscribed to, including the Soviet Union, and today Russia, which states very clearly that every independent nation, every nation has the right to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be a part of.” Mr Stoltenberg said it was a matter of regret that for 18 months it has not been possible to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council because Russia has rejected any invitation to meet, and stressed that the invitation stands.
The Secretary General was joined in the discussion by the Chair of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Martin Schulz, the Secretary General of the OSCE, Helga Schmid, and the Director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Ursula Schröder.