Public opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the North Atlantic Council meeting in Defence Ministers' session

  • 03 Jun. 2014
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  • Last updated: 03 Jun. 2014 12:24

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is an important meeting. At an important time.

We will discuss the broader implications of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine for our Alliance.

We face a new security situation in Europe. After the end of the Cold War, NATO consistently engaged Russia in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation, seeking to build a strategic partnership. And for a while, Russia’s responsible and constructive actions played an important part in building security and stability across the Euro-Atlantic area. But today, Russia’s irresponsible and illegal actions are a serious challenge to a Europe whole, free and at peace. Because Russia has shown it is ready to use force to redraw borders. To recreate dividing lines in Europe. And to destabilize sovereign nations in pursuit of its geopolitical goals.

Russia’s actions threaten the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. And we need to carefully consider both the short-term, and the long-term, implications for our Alliance.

Today, we will focus on three issues. Strengthening collective defence. Readiness. And resources.

First, we will review the measures we have already taken in the air, at sea and on the ground across the Alliance. Because when it comes to collective security, we are at one, and no Ally stands alone. We will also review our readiness and responsiveness. To ensure that our forces are able to deploy to the right place, at the right time, and with the right tools and training.

And we will take a close look at our resources. To seek ways of improving both levels and the nature of defence spending: not just what is spent, but how it is spent.

We must focus more clearly on delivering the key priorities to fulfill all three of our core tasks: collective defence, crisis management, and cooperative security. Because to strengthen our security at home, we must be prepared to tackle crises abroad. And we must work with our partners around the globe.

This means developing the right, and more intensive training and exercising. It requires us to do even more together. And to give further impetus to our Smart Defence and Connected Forces initiatives, which ensure that are all stronger within a strong Alliance.

So our meeting is an important stepping-stone to a successful Wales Summit in September, and for the continued success of our Alliance.

This concludes the public part of our meeting, and now let me thank the members of the media who have joined us at the start of this session.