Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Affairs Ministers session

  • 01 Apr. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 01 Apr. 2014 13:39

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are meeting at an important point for Euro-Atlantic security.

Today, we will discuss how to safeguard security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Because Russia has shown that it is ready to use force to redraw borders and recreate dividing lines in Europe. This undermines Russia’s international commitments and the international rule of law. It is a serious concern to those of us who are committed to a Europe whole, free and at peace. And a serious challenge to which we must respond.

Today, we reaffirm our commitment to collective defence. We remain vigilant, ready and able to defend and deter against any threat.

We reach out to Ukraine and our Eastern partners, to support them as they freely pursue their own political choices. Later this afternoon, we will meet the Ukrainian Foreign Minister to discuss how we can intensify our cooperation.

And we re-evaluate our cooperation with Russia. Four years ago, at the Lisbon Summit, we agreed to work towards a true strategic partnership. We are convinced that engagement with Russia remains the right way forward. But Russia’s actions have undermined the foundations of our Partnership. So we cannot continue with business as usual.

This crisis shows again that we cannot take security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area for granted. This is why we need to enhance our ability to operate together as Allies and with partners. And we need to provide more help to others to build up their own defence capacities.

These will be important points on our agenda at the Wales Summit in September. And today, we will take our preparations further.

And with that, let me conclude the public part of our session. I thank the representatives of the Media for their attendance.