Pre-Ministerial press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - Secretary General's opening remarks

  • 18 May. 2016 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 18 May. 2016 17:52

(As delivered)

Good afternoon.

We will have the Foreign Ministerial meeting taking place tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. And Foreign Ministers will address several issues which are high on the agenda and which are important for our security.

And let me briefly take you through the agenda and share some thoughts about the most important issues which will be addressed under the different agenda points.

First, Montenegro.

Tomorrow, we will welcome Prime Minister Djukanovic to sign the Accession Protocol.

Following that ceremony, Montenegro will as of tomorrow participate in all NATO meetings as an observer, or “Invitee”.

Once all Allies have ratified the Protocol, Montenegro will become the 29th member of the Alliance.

A clear sign that NATO continues to help build stability and security in the Western Balkans.

Our second meeting will focus on projecting stability in our wider neighbourhood.
This means helping our partners strengthen their own forces, and secure their own countries.

Because this enhances our security here at home as well.

We will discuss what more NATO can do to support Iraq.
We are already training several hundred Iraqi officers in Jordan.

We have received a request from Prime Minister al-Abadi to expand our training mission into Iraq itself. And we will consider this request from Prime Minister al-Abadi.

In the Aegean Sea, NATO ships are helping cut the lines of illegal trafficking and illegal migration.
We are making a real difference, as part of the broader international efforts.
Figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees indicate that the average daily arrivals in April were down around 90% from the month before.
And we will explore what more the Alliance could do in the central Mediterranean, in cooperation with the European Union.

We will also talk about Russia, and our policy towards our eastern neighbours.

Our approach to Russia combines strong defence and deterrence with dialogue.

We have already decided to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our Alliance.
Our military planners have put forward proposals for several battalions in different countries in the region.
No decision has been taken on the numbers and locations.
But we are now considering the scale and the scope of our presence in the east.

NATO is a defensive Alliance. And we will do what it takes to defend our citizens. In a responsible and proportionate manner. And in accordance with our international obligations.

At the same time, we continue to strive for more transparency in our relationship with Russia on military matters and reduce the risks of incidents or accidents spiralling out of control.

NATO does not seek confrontation. It is in everyone’s interest to avoid a new arms race.

On Friday, we will focus on NATO-EU cooperation.

The Foreign Ministers of Finland and Sweden, two of NATO’s closest partners, will join us.

NATO and the EU face unprecedented security challenges.
To address them, we are working closer together than ever before.

But we need to do more.

We will discuss how to take our cooperation with the EU to a new level at the Warsaw Summit.
This could include a statement expressing our will to work even more closely together on hybrid threats, maritime and cyber cooperation and on other areas; Playbooks for dealing with a range of hybrid warfare scenarios, to help speed up decision making and clarify in advance who does what.
And linked NATO-EU exercises to test our reactions to an emerging hybrid threat.
Finally, we will discuss our future support for Afghanistan.
Including plans for our Resolute Support mission, and continued financial support for the Afghan security forces.

Our Ministerial meeting will begin exactly fifty days before we meet at our Summit in Warsaw.

The decisions we take at this Ministerial meeting will help pave the way to the Summit.

At the Summit, we will take the necessary decisions to protect our citizens at home and to project stability beyond our borders.

And with that I am ready to take your questions.