Press point

  • 20 Nov. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 21 Nov. 2014 10:01

MODERATOR: [Voice of interpreter] Welcome, everybody. First of all, I will pass the floor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, and then the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and then there's time for Q&A.

KEIT PENTUS-ROSIMANNUS (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia): [Voice of interpreter] It was a very pleasant and work-related meeting. We focused on the Wales summit decisions' implementation during our meeting. And it is clear that in the current security situation which has not become any simpler but remains complicated. The affirmation received at the Wales summit regarding the alliance's readiness to respond to any security risk to allies, very significant, our main message is that the readiness action plan is very important for NATO to remain strong. For this region as a whole, this action plan means strengthening the presence of NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air. And it's also important to raise general readiness of the alliance.

We also discussed the next landmark. At the beginning of December, there is a meeting of ministers of foreign affairs and in the framework of that, in addition to collective defense issues, NATO partnership development is also important to us, and also the Afghanistan follow-up mission.

So this was my brief summary. Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): Thank you. First of all, I would like to say that I had an excellent meeting with the Foreign Minister, and we agreed that it is of great importance to keep NATO strong because by keeping NATO strong, we are able to make sure that we are maintaining the alliance as an alliance which is able to provide security to all allies. And the main idea, the main task of NATO is to be able to defend all allies against any threats, and NATO is able to do that… to do that today.

But we have to also make sure that we are able to do that in the future, and that's the reason why we are now focusing on the implementation on the readiness action plan, which is a plan which will increase the military capabilities, which will increase our collective defense in a way that ensures that we also in the future are able to defend all allies.

And I also use this opportunity to commend Estonia for its strong commitment to NATO, for its contributions to NATO by participating in the operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and also because Estonia is leading by example by investing two percent of its gross national… gross domestic product in defense. And that is of great importance for Estonia but also for the alliance, because we need allies as Estonia which is delivering on this very important pledge.

And then, of course, we also discussed the upcoming meeting of foreign ministers in NATO where we are going to address both the challenges and the threats we are seeing to the east, but also to the south, Iraq and Syria.

But I think the most important thing now is to leave some time for questions. So I will just end by saying that I appreciate very much this opportunity to me and to the Foreign Minister to discuss issues of common importance for Estonia and the alliance.

MODERATOR: [Voice of interpreter] Thank you very much. Any questions?

Q: Does NATO have any intelligence at the moment suggesting that Russian forces inside eastern Ukraine and on the borders of Ukraine are preparing for an attack?

JENS STOLTENBERG: So what we have is that we have information both from our own sources but also from open sources as, for instance, the organizations… Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE… OSCE for … and also some independent reporters from inside Ukraine. And they are confirming the picture we have, and that is that there has been a military build-up both inside Ukraine and on the border to Ukraine, on the Russian side.

What we have seen is a movement of equipment, of troops, tanks, artillery, advanced air defense systems. And this movement also into Ukraine at least underlines that there is a build-up which is undermining the Minsk agreement, which is fuelling the conflict. And we ask or we… we call on Russia to stop fuelling the conflict and to pull back its troops both from inside eastern Ukraine but also from the border, and we call on Russia to respect the Minsk agreements and also to use all its influence on the separatists to make sure that they are respecting the ceasefire.

So, yeah, our sources provide the same pictures as other sources. There are… there is a military build-up taking place and there are severe violations of the ceasefire agreement.

MODERATOR: [Voice of interpreter] One last quick question. Please use the microphone.

Q: Does Estonia think that NATO is doing enough to safeguard the country?

KEIT PENTUS-ROSIMANNUS: [Voice of interpreter] And I will continue to answer in Estonian. NATO, for Estonia, is the largest security guarantee. And what NATO does for securing Estonian security and what Estonia does with its contribution is significant and sufficient and necessary to guarantee Estonians security. Estonia contributes two percent of its GDP in order to uphold its obligations to NATO. And preserving that, continuing with that is very important for us.

In addition, we also are making contributions in order to make sure that it's possible for strengthening the alliance's presence in Estonia. So my brief answer is yes.

MODERATOR: [Voice of interpreter] Thank you. Unfortunately, we have no more time for a question. Thank you for coming and have a nice day.