by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Affairs Ministers
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Today, we will discuss the evolving security challenges in our eastern and southern neighbourhoods.
To the east, a more assertive Russia has used force to change borders and intimidate neighbours.
To the south, turmoil and violent extremism have reached a level unprecedented in modern times.
In this more dangerous security environment, NATO will continue to protect and defend each Ally against any threat.
That is why we are adapting our Alliance to a new environment.
And implementing the greatest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.
We are increasing the presence of our forces in the eastern part of the Alliance.
We are significantly expanding the size of the NATO Response Force.
And we are developing a Spearhead Force with lead elements ready to deploy within as little as 48 hours.
And we are enhancing our ability to deter and prevent hybrid threats.
At the same time, we are helping to make our neighbours more resilient.
Because if they are more stable, we are more secure.
Today, we will discuss the long-term strategic implications of the challenges we face.
And how NATO can work together, with our partners and with the European Union, to meet them.
This is an important stepping stone towards our NATO Summit in Warsaw next year.
With that, let me now end this public part of the meeting.
And thank the representatives of the media and then we will, in just a few minutes, start the next part of our session this morning.