by NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session

  • 29 May. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 30 May. 2017 19:01

NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller addresses the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia

Thank you very much Mr. President. Ambassador Alli.  I did want to say right at the outset that I very much liked your introductory remarks this morning and I wanted to subscribe to them whole heartedly. Also, Mr. Prime Minister I noted during your remarks that you said that Georgia’s on a stable path, a stable movement toward NATO and E.U. integration and I think that the extensive program you laid out in your remarks also shows that you are on that stable path so thank you for that very full briefing to this Assembly this morning.

I’m really glad to be here in Tbilisi in independent Georgia. I know that on May 26th just last Friday you celebrated 99 years since your first Independence Day but then there was a long interregnum when you were not fully independent, so every one of these Independence Days you are celebrating now is especially precious and I congratulate Georgia on that celebration. And this is a very special meeting of the Assembly. Last time the NPA held one of its meetings outside of NATO in an aspirant country was in 2002, so this is a very special meeting in a very special aspirant country.

As Parliamentarians, you both represent and inform your constituents and you hold your governments and political leaders to account for the decisions they take, decisions that often have a profound effect on our security. I thank you all for the important work that you do. Of course, on May 25th the leaders of many of your countries met in Brussels at our new NATO headquarters. I would like to update you this morning on the progress made during that meeting and then I will be delighted to take the questions that you have. I’ll do my best to open them.

The meeting focused on two themes. First was the fight against terrorism and fair burden sharing for our security. Two extraordinarily important themes that led to extensive discussions in both cases. Let me say a few words about each.

First the fight against terrorism. Ever since the United States was attacked on 9/11 NATO has been involved in the fight against international terrorism. The day after the attacks and for the very first time NATO invoked Article 5. The Collective Defense Clause of our founding Treaty, the Washington Treaty which says that an attack on one is an attack on all. Soon after NATO AWACS planes patrolled American skies against the possibility of further attack and in the years since hundreds of thousands of Europeans and Canadians have served side by side with U.S. troops in Afghanistan under a NATO flag and many partners have joined them including importantly Georgia. From partner countries, many have served and many have paid the ultimate price, we thank you for that.

Today NATO still has around 13,000 allied and partner troops in Afghanistan with our Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist our Afghan colleagues. NATO’s also supporting the global coalition to defeat ISIL with our AWACS surveillance aircraft. But as the world’s premier security alliance we know we have untapped potential to do more and that was the topic of our discussion last Thursday. NATO leaders agreed at that meeting to do more. In Afghanistan, our mission will continue and with greater numbers. We will also increase our support for the anti-ISIL coalition. NATO has now become as an institution a full member of the global coalition.

This doesn’t mean it will become a NATO mission or that NATO forces will engage in operations in combat, instead it will help as to coordinate better with coalition members and it is a strong symbol of our commitment to the fight against terrorism. NATO membership of the coalition will allow the alliance to take a more active role in political discussions also, better coordinating also on training and capacity building activities. We are already training Iraqi forces to defuse improvised explosive devices in Jordan and in Iraq itself and they are using that training right now in the battle for Mosul. Our AWACS aircraft will expand their role helping to improve air space management and several allies have committed air to air refueling capabilities for these AWACS.

Again, I want to underscore for you what an active discussion it was last Thursday as allies stepped forward to provide for more resources, more capabilities for the anti-ISIL coalition. Of course, a vital part of this fight is the fast and efficient sharing of intelligence between allies and partners. To improve this, we are setting up a new dedicated terrorism intelligence unit within our new intelligence division. We are establishing a hub for the South at our Joint Forces Command in Naples to monitor and assess regional threats, including terrorism.

And we are looking at how we can make more of our Special Operations Headquarters which already offers tailored counter-terrorism training for our allies and partners. And again, that Special Operations Headquarters has been an important focal point for discussions leading up to the meeting on last Thursday. To help coordinate all of these efforts the Secretary General is appointing a new counter-terrorism coordinator and that will be announced shortly.

The second theme of the Brussels meeting was the fair sharing of the burden of our security and the Trans-Atlantic bond. This got a lot of attention clearly and I welcome again the President, Ambassador Alli’s comment that this Assembly is on the front line of that discussion as well. Your role in this matter is extraordinarily important. The challenges we face go far beyond terrorism: instability in the South, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber attack and of course a more assertive Russia.

NATO has a dual track approach to Russia. We are strengthening our deterrence and defense but we are also engaging in meaningful dialogue through the NATO Russia Council which met three times last year in 2016 and once so far this year at the end of March. Allies do not seek to provoke a conflict with Russia but to prevent one and to preserve the peace. Taken together the challenges we face represent the most dangerous and complex security situation for a generation. That is why in 2014 at the NATO Summit in Wales NATO leaders agreed to increase investment in our defense and to make sure that investment went to the capabilities NATO allies need to maintain our security. Since then there has been significant progress and Secretary General Stoltenberg likes to underscore this fact. 

Since 2014 the cuts have stopped and we have begun among ourselves as an Alliance to increase spending on defense. This trend line is very important now to maintain. To make sure that nations keep up the progress and meet the commitments they made in 2014 leaders agreed last week to publish national plans every year. The plans will have three components. Again, already mentioned this morning by the President Ambassador Alli:  cash, capabilities and contributions. That is how much countries are spending on defense, what capabilities they have that NATO needs and what manpower and other resources they are devoting already to NATO operations, so there are three components to that defense investment pledge and it will be incorporated in the national plans.

These plans will ensure that every nation keeps up the momentum, that every nation plays its part and that burden sharing of our security… [break in audio transmission] discussed at the February Defense Ministerial meeting. We will aim to complete all the work on them and begin the discussions inside the Alliance by the end of December and then they will actually be discussed at the February Ministerial meeting.

In addition to these two main themes of burden sharing and the fight against terrorism there was a third very important meeting … measure at the meeting on Thursday. President Vujanovic of Montenegro joined us for the meeting and sat at the leaders table for the first time. In just a few days Montenegro will pass the final accession hurdle submitting its instrument of ratification for the Washington Treaty in Washington D.C. That will be on the 5th of June and officially becoming the 29th member of the NATO Alliance. We will hold a formal flag raising ceremony to welcome them on Wednesday 7th of June at the NATO Headquarters and I hope again everyone in this room will be willing to join in that celebration. It will be an historic moment for the Alliance.

This is a clear sign that the door to membership of NATO remains open to those who share our values, who meet the Alliance’s high standards and who wish to contribute to the collective security of allies and I’m glad to stress this point here in Tbilisi. NATO supports Georgia through the substantial NATO Georgia package. This has two objectives, to bolster Georgia’s self defense capabilities and to prepare it for NATO membership.

The same stance, Georgia is one of our closest and most valued partners. It makes one of the largest troop contributions to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and it helps us to form a deep understanding of the security situation here in the Black Sea region. Whether a country wishes to join NATO or not is entirely up to them. NATO has close partnerships with countries that choose not to join - among them Sweden, Finland and Serbia. NATO takes no position on what security arrangements the country should make, it does firmly hold that countries must choose for themselves their security arrangements. That is their right and it will remain their right.

The Brussels meeting also saw the Head of State and government unveil two memorials of very deep importance to NATO. The first was a Memorial to the Berlin Wall which Chancellor Merkel unveiled on Thursday afternoon. It remembers of course the fall of the Wall, the end of the division of Europe in 1989, 1990, 1991 that very important time period which we remember so well. The second was the so called 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial which President Trump unveiled. It of course focuses on the undying commitment of NATO allies to our mutual defense pact and our Article 5 commitments.

Last week we took another step along the path of NATO’s adaptation to a new more challenging world. We’ve come a long way but there is still a lot of work to do. Adaptation in the Alliance I have learned in my short eight months on this job is a never-ending job and one we must continue to constantly pay attention to.

We have come a long way and with your help we will continue along this road of adaptation and change and building the importance and the capacity and capabilities of the Alliance over time. So, thank you very much for your attention this morning I very much look forward to your questions. Thank you.

Moderator: I now call, the first three questions are from Ricardo Tarmo (sp?) from Spain, Jules Garyou Milan (sp?) from France and Carlos Costonavas (sp?) from Portugal. Ricardo you have the floor.

Q: Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Mrs Gottemoeller. I am going to speak in Spanish. [Speaking with interpreter] Since 2014 this type of discussion, when we talk about the treaty and the alliance, we always end up talking about the budget and the, this one on target of 2 %. This discussion is a discussion where we’re constantly talking about funds, about budgets, it’s as if we were, we have become a bank rather than an organization that focuses on security and defence. President Alli said quite rightly that we should focus a lot, a great deal more on burden sharing.

The fact is that we are now starting to do so and we are starting to talk about additional budgets and that’s fine but we have a deadline in any case which is 2024 and we are also contributing armed forces to international forces and to NATO operations. Our men and women from the armed forces take part in missions and this is an issue that is far more important than money and the budget. When we talk about our organization what’s more important? Countries that respect the 2 % target when it comes to defence budgets but don’t really take part or is it that countries actually send their armed forces to take part in missions? There may be countries that have smaller budgets but that are always ready to take part in missions.

Moderator: Thank you. Jules Garyou Milan (sp?), please.

Q: Oui. [Speaking with interpreter] Yes thank you very much. I’d like to begin by thanking Georgia for it’s incredibly warm and excellent welcome, for it’s commitment to defending our common values as well as to its commitment in particular through it’s presence in Mali and in Central Africa. And I’d like to thank you Madame Deputy Secretary General for your presence and your participation, NATO’s participation in fighting terrorism is something that we have called for for a number of years now and therefore we are extremely pleased with the fact that NATO is now going to join the anti ISIL coalition, increase, will increase the number of our, flight of AWACS and will also contribute to sharing information on terrorist networks and create this unit within the headquarters that will focus on this.

We have spoken about terrorism within our committees and a number of experts have said that in addition to ISIL being a unique entity has nevertheless three aspects, military, a terrorist unit and another. And so the, the territorial and military aspects have been dismantled but the terrorist aspect remains and it’s very present in our countries. We feel that, we assessed nearly 600 the number of victims that lost their lives due to the cowardly attacks by ISIL on our territory in, since 2014. And we all send our thoughts to Manchester and to the, to the demonstrations in the memory of the victims that we, we have a great deal of admiration for.

The importance of fighting on our own soil is very important, in France we are setting up a coordination unit for intelligence services made up of 50 to 60 people specifically to fight against terrorism and they will be operating 24 hours a day with a shortened decision making process in order to make it possible to react within 30 minutes of key information coming in. Some of the countries do not have the means of doing as much in order to react when it comes to intelligence and cyber vigilance and need our help. So Madame Secretary, Deputy Secretary General how do you intend to support the allies in order to enhance the fight against terrorism on their territory in order to boost intelligence services and in order to process and share collected information that is fundamental in order to fight against projected criminal measures? Can you talk a little bit more about about NATO’s commitment in this field? Thank you.

Moderator: Thank You Jules. Carlos Costonavas may I ask you to try to stay within the two minutes please because otherwise we don’t have enough time for everybody.

Q: Thank you President, I’ll try to do that. Thank you Deputy Secretary General for your inspiring introductory remarks. Thank you to our Georgian colleagues, friends for their hospitality. Speaking about burden sharing. We are preparing, I think all the member states, national plans. So each member state will have its own roadmap to reach the 2 % of GDP. Do you think there is a deadline to that, three years after Wales? Or there is no deadline for the national plans?

Second question, we share more than burden, we share our collective defence, we share military capabilities. Having 28 roadmaps or national plans, how to coordinate that national plans? Because we are going to increase, one third per cent our expenditure in defence. So how to coordinate, do you have any guidelines on that issue?

Third question, about coordination. Well European Union we don’t speak here a lot about European Union, European Union is deepening its common security and defence policy. What about the role of the European Union in this coordination?

And fourth and last question. Well we are sharing, we want to share our burden but at the same time we have, we need to address the sources of global and regional insecurity. Don’t you think we need also a fair burden sharing in development aid? Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you Carlos. Before giving the floor to Rose Gottemoeller for replies I announce the next three questions so that the speakers will be prepared. Lord Jopling from United Kingdom, Mira Covash from Croatia and Iraqa Baraia from Georgia, please.

Rose Gottemoeller (NATO Deputy Secretary General): Thank you very much. Excellent questions and will allow us to continue our discussion of the burden sharing matter. I took special note of Spanish colleague’s comment about are we just a bank nowadays. I don’t think of it that way. The way I think of this issue, and it is a serious issue for all of the countries in the alliance I recognize, in 2000 all of the NATO allies spent 2 % of their defence budgets on, 2 % of their GDP’s on their defence. So it wasn’t so very long ago that 2 % of GDP was a well accepted number around the alliance.

What has happened in the years since and we do believe me at headquarters recognize the issue, there was a very severe financial crisis and many ministries of finance faced with severe social problems looked at this problem and said we need to be spending more of our GDP on social programs and fewer Euros or national percentage of currency on national defence.

So it was an understandable trend line that developed but our point again looking at the problems that we are addressing today, a more aggressive Russia, the rise of violent extremism, rise of ISIL, is that we have some very severe issues that we must deal with on the defence and security front and so I think it is very timely to be considering again in a sense of our mutual national interest, looking at 2 % of defence spending, 2 % of GDP on defence spending. It is very I think significant that it is a matter and it needs to be a matter of mutual national security interest not just something that either comes to you from Brussels or comes to you from Washington, it’s something that all recognize is in our mutual interest.

In terms, there were a number of questions about how to coordinate, how do we consider working in future on this matter. I do want to stress that NATO has a very particular role in national security and defence. It is not focused for example on domestic policing, domestic security but we must nevertheless look for ways to work and coordinate better inside NATO borders to be able to share when necessary important information and I think that that is a very, very fair point to make.

But in terms of our overall plans and how countries will be moving forward, by the way it’s not 28 national plans it will soon be 29 national plans, again we expect to see these plans completed by the end of December. They will be refreshed on an annual basis, we will be discussing them at the defence ministerial coming up in, in February [sic] of this year. So it will be so to say a rolling process going forward but we will have an opportunity to maintain a focus on how countries are implementing their action plans inside the alliance.

It is a very important point though how we coordinate what kinds of capabilities we will be acquiring and I want to stress again the point I made in my remarks that we’re not just talking about 2 % as the most important marker here. The Defence Investment Pledge at Wales had three aspects to it. One was 2 % of GDP, the second was the capabilities that allies can bring to the defence problems that NATO has, in other words capabilities that NATO needs. And the third very important contribution is to operations, how many troops or other, other capabilities, equipment and so forth an ally is providing to a NATO action or operation.

So there are three pieces to that Defence Investment Pledge and that is fully, fully recognized in the action plans as they will now be developed. So the question how we coordinate among, already there are some, there are some ways to coordinate in place including our annual, our annual looks at capabilities across the alliance and the actions that allies take on an annual basis to commit to fulfilling those capabilities, that is a wide-ranging discussion inside the alliance that allows us to coordinate, we need to do it better, we are constantly look at ways to do that.

The other new development and I’m glad cooperation with the EU was brought up by our Portuguese colleague because that has become an increasingly important aspect of our work particularly since last December’s foreign ministerial where we agreed to move forward with more intensive cooperation on 42 proposals with the EU, those are now in implementation.

And I must say that it has resulted already in better coordination with the EU, the staffs are working very well together, I say we’re forming more day in day out connective tissue with the EU and by the way I think the coordination activities that the EU undertakes as part of EU planning for defence will help in this matter of coordination inside NATO and also help to pull into sharper focus some of the aspects of defence burden sharing. So I think it is really very positive the way we have moved forward with the EU and I hope to see that continue.

Finally, on the matter of how we will support allies on their own territory, I did want to mention one other factor and underscore the fact that we are forming this new intelligence unit that will be focused on this matter. I will underscore this issue when I get back to headquarters as to how we are going to help. I thought the point was a very good one that some of the allies don’t actually have the national resources to perhaps form a 24/7 counter terrorism watch centre and you know thinking about how NATO with its new focus on provision of intelligence information and so forth may be able to, to be helpful in this regard is an important issue which I will take back to headquarters with me. So thank you for that.

Moderator: Thank you. Second round of questions. Lord Jopling please.

Q: Mr. President can I ask the Deputy Secretary General, she spoke about the old pledges that were made three years ago at the Wales Summit but isn’t it disappointing that three years later we have 19 members of the alliance still spending less than 1.5 % GDP, three of our allies spending less than 1 % and even worse we’ve been told there are four of our friends in the alliance who have no plans yet to move substantially towards 2 %.

Now those are the old pledges. You’ve spoken this morning of last weeks’ new pledges and may I take a note of what Chancellor Merkel has said overnight, which is most welcome about the need for the European members of the alliance to do more. But given the background of failure to move more substantially towards the Wales pledges what hope have you got that the new pledges of last week will mean that those members of the alliance who seem prepared to sign up to anything so long as they’re not expected to do anything about it, what hope have you got that these latest pledges will be as hollow as the previous ones?

Moderator: Thank you. Mira Covash (sp?).

Q: Thank you dear President. I’d like to ask the Deputy Secretary General about hybrid warfare. How NATO plans to counter hybrid warfare against NATO member countries and countries which want to belong to the western community. And secondly I would like to ask the Deputy Secretary General how she feels the cohesion inside NATO, particularly after what we heard from Chancellor Merkel where she expressed a certain doubt. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Iraqi Baraia (sp?) from Georgia.

Q: Thank you Mr. President. Madame Deputy Secretary General, first of all I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to you personally, to the NATO member states, international staff as well as participants of the assembly meeting for their continuous and strong support to Georgia. It is well known fact that Georgia is making significant progress and taking tangible steps on its Euro Atlantic integration path. It is also recognized that in terms of implementing our comprehensive democratic reform agenda we are an exemplary model and case in the region and beyond.

As you’re well aware Georgia is substantially contributing to the shared Euro Atlantic security by deploying over 800 military personnel in Afghanistan. As distinguished president of the NATO PA stressed yesterday there are certain dimensions where Georgia has better record than some NATO member countries. Taken into account all of the above mentioned what should we expect from NATO summit in 2018? Will the alliance be ready by that time to make political decision on advancing Georgia on it’s membership path? Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. The three speakers after the Secretary General reply will be [inaudible] from Norway, [Inaudible] from Iceland and [inaudible] from Latvia. Please.

Rose Gottemoeller: Thank you very much. What hope do I have that we are on a different path from earlier? My hope comes from two very important bars, Secretary General Stoltenberg has a famous now chart that’s been shown that shows from 2000 up through 2014, bars down below the line all red and some during that financial crisis I mentioned a moment ago were very low indeed as defence expenditures across the alliance dropped off significantly during that crisis period.

But in 2015 after the Wales Summit, frankly it was the Wales Summit and I like to stress that fact, it wasn’t in the last six months that this happened, it was after the Wales Summit that a small green bar appeared above the line and by the following year, by, that was 2015, by 2016 the bar had raised by approximately 3.8 % which amounts to approximately $10 billion dollars, yes. And so this is significant. Those are estimates for 2016, we are closing the books soon on 2016, in June Secretary General Stoltenberg will put out the final numbers for 2016 and estimates for 2017.

So my hope rests in those two green bars but I hope that in addition 2017 will continue to show momentum in the direction of increased defence expenditure and that will be very, very important. So that is where the hope springs from I have to say and I do want to give due credit to the allies at the Wales Summit focusing on the necessity of moving forward on this issue again because it is in everyone’s mutual security interest to do so. 2014 was truly a watershed year for this alliance following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, seizure of Crimea and the seizure of Mosul by ISIL but I do want to again record that the roots were established in 2008, frankly right on the cusp of the financial crisis by the Russian incursion into Georgia which, which are the roots of I think what happened in Ukraine in 2014. So very, very important that we are now as one moving out on this issue and the momentum is in the right direction.

On the question of hybrid warfare against NATO member countries. It’s very good I think that NATO again has had a very strong wake up call on this matter in recent years. It is now an explicit aspect of what NATO is focused on in terms of our operational challenges. So the spectrum does not begin at the low end of the conventional scale and proceed to weapons of mass destruction used as it might have during the Cold War but there is a new focus on real attention to the hybrid part of the spectrum.

And so there is a hybrid warfare study centre that has been established but I do want to assure you it’s not some kind of abstract thing that is only really being studied per se, it is something that day in day out is present in how we plan for operations, in how we plan our training and in how we exercise and train. So hybrid warfare, we’re looking to a CMX coming up in October and that will be a high level exercise that will focus very much on the hybrid end of the spectrum. So there is a real time attention to this matter in the alliance, it will continue to be so.

Cohesion inside NATO is a constant issue frankly because the unity of the alliance is its glue and the unity of the alliance is built around consensus. And so yes we have differences, I do want to stress and again Sec Gen Stoltenberg constantly stresses this point, we always have differences day in day out, we just went through the mighty struggles that always precede a meeting of heads of state and government, a meeting of ministers whether foreign or defence ministers.

There are many issues that must be argued and countries must be brought along to make the necessary decisions in their national capitals to reach consensus. So I think we need to embrace difference, it’s part of what makes the vitality of the NATO alliance, I can’t say it’s easy to deal with, it’s an extraordinary amount of heavy lifting but you as parliamentarians certainly understand the process, the heavy lifting that requires all of us sometimes to get to consensus. So I don’t see it as, as a fatal flaw of the alliance by any means, it is part of the reality of the situation and it is something that we must constantly I think work because we are constantly working toward unity and consensus so that we can move the alliance forward. So in essence that cohesion and unity are the glue that holds the alliance together and that glue the main ingredient is consensus. So I don’t worry so much about cohesion inside the alliance but it something we must be attentive to and work to sustain and maintain every single day.

I said in my opening remarks that you are a very special aspirant country and that is I think a very important point to underscore. We do value very much Georgia’s long standing contributions to the alliance. The 800 personnel in Afghanistan were mentioned but I also wanted to say I understand that 35 of your young soldiers have died in Afghanistan, they have paid the ultimate price and that is something we all mourn and something that we all, we all mourn on behalf of the families and friends of those young people as well.

But it is I think important to make note of the fact that Georgia still will have some continuing hard work to do in terms of bringing the armed forces to a certain level of training, to a certain level of institutional structure and so there are still reforms that need to be, need to be implemented here in Georgia. For that reason I am very happy to have the, to have the team here that NATO has in our local office, we have a very skilled group of people here with many countries around this room contributing voluntary national contributions, experts, to come here and help work on this very important process of reform. So in terms of the time scale I’m not going to make any, any predictions today but I do see the momentum and I see the trajectory and they are both in a positive direction.

Moderator: Thank you. Next question, [inaudible] Norway.

Q: Thank you Mr. President and thank you Deputy Secretary General for your remarks. We have discussed two reports on the arctic during our session here. For now the high north is often characterized as an area of stability and cooperation including with Russia. It is in the interest of all parties that this continues.

However many of us share the view that the arctic is a region of strategic importance to the alliance and that shifting dynamics in the arctic primarily caused by climate change will affect Euro Atlantic security profoundly. I understand that NATO places a strong focus on improving comprehensive situational awareness. So my question is how could the alliance improve its situational awareness and what is necessary to achieve this? Thank you.

Moderator: Next question, [inaudible] Iceland.

Q: Thank you Mr. President and Madame Deputy Secretary General. I’m [inaudible] and the chairman of the Icelandic NATO Parliamentary Group. You’re all aware that the high north is becoming increasingly important in a strategic security and economic dimension. Temperatures in the high north have been rising fast and the arctic ice levels are decreasing at a more rapid pace, that at this pace, and such changes are affecting traditional ways of life. At the same time there are growing opportunities for commercial shipping, resource extraction, tourism and fishing. However as the commercial importance of the region grows and with geopolitical changes in the region there are fears of increasing tension between the countries with literal arctic waters.

Furthermore Russia has put increased focus on militarization of the region and in the light of these recent geopolitical and environmental developments as well as the fact of that five members of the alliance have territory in the region, are you concerned about the rapid climate changes in the arctic? And do you believe that it might affect security issues in the region? Furthermore do you believe that NATO should be more active as regards to arctic affairs? Thank you.

Moderator: Next question, [inaudible] Latvia, chairman of Political Committee.

Q: Thank you very much Mr. President and thank you Deputy Secretary General. My question is about the manner in which we communicate burden sharing. I think most delegates here understand the difference between national defence budgets and NATO’s civilian budget but there seems to be a growing confusion in the public discussion of just how NATO functions financially and I understood from your comments when you mentioned cash capabilities and contributions that NATO will try to do a better job in communicating just how the 28 member states contribute and this is commendable. We have developed at NATO very good strategic communication plans to fight disinformation from countries outside of NATO but can NATO HQ help us do more to combat confusion within our own countries? And help explain these processes to our voters who may not be as sophisticated as the delegates here and politicians are. Thank you.

Moderator: Okay go ahead.

Rose Gottemoeller: You will announce the next three.

Moderator: Yes. Now is, next three, first [inaudible] Lithuania, [inaudible] European Parliament also [inaudible] Armenia.

Rose Gottemoeller: Thank you very much. Two excellent questions on the arctic. And first of all I do want to say that this area is of extraordinary importance and NATO recognizes extraordinary importance in a strategic sense and the climate changes that have been developing speed there have only heightened that sense of the strategic importance of the region. So NATO is both concerned in an historical sense about the arctic region but also very I would say also seized of the matter that there is this environmental issue, rapid climate change going on there. So both aspects are something that NATO has been fully embracing.

We do I think count a lot on our arctic members on Norway, on Iceland and other arctic members of the alliance to, to really help guide debate and discussion on this matter. Canada of course, Denmark, others have a very important point of view as well and continue to help us to move forward on these issues. I think that in terms of comprehensive situational awareness which was the question our Norwegian colleague asked, I do want to underscore that it is the arctic members of NATO who help us to provide, who help us to understand really what the situation is in the arctic, to fully understand that the United States of course also being an arctic country with Alaska.

So we do need your help inside the alliance for that understanding first of all but second of all I wanted to applaud the work of the committee in this assembly and we look forward to seeing your report on this matter because we do appreciate inputs that come from other sources in addition to our, our own members of the alliance. So I think that that is very important. The third area of course and I mentioned it briefly during my remarks but we now have a division in NATO devoted to intelligence matters that is organizing better our intelligence work inside the alliance and that does help also on this problem of situational awareness.

But turning to the points that our Icelandic colleague made, we are concerned about both the strategic aspects of this and the question was can NATO be more active in the area, in certain respects NATO must be more active in the area. We have not heard or I had not heard the expression Greenland Iceland UK Gap, the GIUK Gap for well over a decade when last year it again sprang on the scene and there, when I was still in Washington there began to be an ever more active discussion of the necessity for us to be more intently focused on anti-submarine warfare than we had been for many years and particularly in the Greenland Iceland UK Gap area.

So of course there are, there are real military challenges developing to which the NATO alliance has not paid sufficient attention for many, many years and we need to up our game with regard to anti-submarine warfare and we need to look at what capabilities we need to renew in that area. We need to look at what kind of training and exercises, we really welcome that there will be a significant exercise in Iceland this summer built around the problems of ASW and the GIUK Gap. So it is very, very important I think that we redouble our efforts now to be paying attention to this issue because it is not only of course a matter of environmental concerns but also of strategic concern to the alliance.

Latvia. The question on how to communicate better with NATO publics and indeed we are really focusing on how to do this now. Your burden sharing comment is a very good one because it is a complex matter and I agree with you, I don’t think we do communicate adequately the various parts and pieces of burden sharing and what it means. So it’s really I think in recent times a wake up call, particularly after last Thursday’s meeting, that we need to be able to talk really in a very detailed and serious way but nevertheless one that communicates easily with the publics about what defence burden sharing means in these action plans and in the Defence Investment Pledge from Wales.

We are in current times making an effort to do this better by really organizing our work better. You might have noticed if you were watching the television last week at our new headquarters there were a number of very big banners hung up with a #WeAreNATO and that is our first attempt at a more strategic approach to public messaging. To have a public information campaign that provides information to publics across the alliance and also to partner countries as well so that, so that the publics will understand a little bit better and to help the governments in those countries including the parliaments to communicate a little bit better with publics than has been the case in the past.

To provide some more comprehensive but easily useable information, good information about the alliance, for one thing to counter disinformation, to counter fake news and so forth, to help to provide good information for publics across the alliance. So I urge you if you are interested in this matter about better communications with your publics to check out our #WeAreNATO campaign because there really is a very, very good information kit that goes along with it and it can help for you and your staffs to begin, perhaps to get your arms around this problem a little bit better in your own countries.

Moderator: Next question. [Inaudible], Lithuania.

Q: Thank you chairman, thank you Madame Deputy Secretary General for you informative statement. As you mentioned we face in front different challenges. Terrorism, cyber, hybrid and especially new Russian aggressive behaviour as [inaudible] political, geographical areas. And as we may remember we have a, more than 10 years period when we frankly discussed with Russia round a round table in NATO Russia Council format and majority of us in that period decreased their expenditures for defence.

But in opposite for us Russia doubled resources for military forces and occupied 20 % of Georgia and annexed Crimea and still act in the south and east regions of Ukraine. From my point of view the biggest provocation from our side to Russia is to do little but less than is needed. Do you agree that we have only one possibility to continue our dialogue with Russia, strengthen [inaudible] our capabilities, increasing [inaudible] readiness and expenditures for defence and strengthening our relation with partner countries in helping them in defence reform process and [inaudible] against military forces according NATO standards. Thank you.

Moderator: Next question. [Inaudible], European Parliament.

Q: Thank you very much Mr. President and Madame Deputy Secretary General. First of all on behalf of the European Parliament delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the excellent organization of this session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Our deep appreciation for perfect arrangement goes both to the Georgian host and to the international secretariat of NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Thank you very much for that.

Q: The European Parliament has always been a staunch supporter of EU and NATO cooperation and we are convinced that all the challenges we are facing should deepen our cooperation. The complex threats that need joint answers in a truly comprehensive manner, we need to enlarge the strategic partnership between our respective organizations. Therefore it is imperative that we identify synergies and ways to increase the complementarity between the European Union and NATO. This will bring new culture of cooperation and I agree with the most recent statement by NATO Secretary General delivered in the European Parliament, namely that cooperation is now the norm not the exception.

Finally I strongly believe that parliamentarians have an indispensable role in pursing the interest and representing the values of our citizens in security and defence. Madame Deputy Secretary General, what role do you consider important for us, parliamentarians, what in NATO Parliamentary Assembly, in the European Parliament and in the concerned national parliaments in overseeing EU NATO cooperation and in providing stability toward this enhanced strategic partnership? Thank you very much.

Moderator: Next question, [inaudible] Armenia.

Q: Thank you. Honourable Deputy Secretary General congratulations on your first outstanding presentation in our assembly. Over couple of decades NATO has developed regional partnerships that benefitted both NATO and partners. Here I would like to emphasise especially Partnership for Peace Program that benefitted defence reforms and capacity building in defence and security sectors. My question is does NATO’s agenda include a plan on enlarging PFP program? And how do you look at the possibility of establishing a close inter-regional network for PFP participating states which would promote exchange of achievements in institutional reforms and involvement of new initiatives towards making NATO partnerships stronger? Thank you.

Rose Gottemoeller: To your Lithuanian colleague I can simply answer yes to everything you said. Of course the best way to engage in successful dialogue with the Russian Federation is to ensure that your deterrence and defence are strong and that is everything that we have been doing including in the three Baltic states and in Poland in the formation of the four battle groups that are being put in place this summer pursuant to the enhanced forward presence decisions that were made at the Warsaw Summit last July.

And I think not only is the necessity of strong deterrence and defence but also decisiveness and so I want to again congratulate countries across the alliance who moved out decisively after the Warsaw Summit to put those battle groups in place and I am so proud that this June they are all being certified in, already the exercises are underway. I was just in Estonia a few weeks ago to the Tapa Base to watch the process beginning of exercising to certify the battle group there in Estonia with UK, France working very closely together with their Estonian counterparts and that is the same across the Baltic states and in Poland for the three additional battle groups.

So that decisiveness, the speed at which we’ve implemented that discussion, that shows that we are strong in our deterrence and defence response. And on that basis we can engage in dialogue and we believe its important to engage in dialogue with Russia because again it is in our interest to do so to ensure that the incidents that have been occurring, particularly those at sea or in the air over the Baltic Sea, that those incidents do not spin out of control and lead to crisis and heaven forbid to conflict.

So it’s on that basis alone that I see the importance of a good and substantive dialogue with Russia and that is where we are, we are placing our focus, but I want to stress first and foremost that when we sit down at that dialogue table with Russia that Russia’s aggressive actions and laterally in Ukraine are really the focus of attention. So we, we talk about that on a clear and steady basis. So I think it is very, very important that we bear in mind the necessity of keeping our deterrence and defence strong as we engage in dialogue.

I really am welcoming this opportunity to talk further about EU NATO cooperation and I thank the representative of the European Parliament for his question on this because as I said and you quoted Sec Gen Stoltenberg and his remark that, that it is now normal for the EU and NATO to be cooperating and I understand, again I’m fairly new at my job but I understand that in past years they were more often butting heads as institutions than working closely together.

But in just the, the nine months [sic] now since our December ministerial I myself can see the development of much closer institutional coordination between the two entities and I do see that parliamentarians have a role in continuing to push that cooperation and continuing to nurture it and to encourage it in every way you can because I think frankly there are, there are differences in agenda for one thing.

Clearly NATO is a defence and security alliance and so our primary focus will be on defence and security. EU while it has its defence agenda also is very much focused on the development of strong and healthy economies in countries where we are providing assistance. So that is, as we think about it, that is the necessity for projecting stability, that the economies of the countries become more healthy, that the countries themselves become more politically stable. And so NATO and the EU, we both have tools in our tool kit but they are separate and distinct tools. It’s only when we put our tool kits together that we have a comprehensive set of tools to work on the problems that are inherent to projecting stability, building institutions and developing at the heart of it the means and methods for wrestling with the problems of violent extremism and terrorism that have become such a scourge for so many alliance members.

So I do think that parliaments have a big role in continuing to encourage the development of our cooperation. I don’t want to make it sound too rosy, it’s by no means perfect yet, there are still a lot of, a lot of bumps to be smoothed out, so you can definitely play a role in encouraging our continuing cooperation.

 For Armenia, again thank you for your role over the years in the Partnership for Peace. I know that we have recently had some very good meetings to talk about your plans going forward and I very much welcome the good work we’ve been able to do together on defence reform and capacity building, also on military education as I understand, military education and training. So we are very keen to see that continue. We recently had a high level visit to Yerevan, we would like to see that kind of interaction continue. Your idea is a good, an interesting one, to think about more close inter-regional partnership for closer coordination and for perhaps doing some lessons learned as well between and among various regional partners. So that’s another one I’d like to take back with me to headquarters to discuss further but thank you for the idea.

Moderator: Next three questions. Raphaela Volpe Italy, [inaudible] Austria, [inaudible] Portugal. First Raphaela Volpe, Italy.

Q: Grazia President. [Speaking with interpreter]. Thank you chair. Thank you to the Deputy Secretary General. I would also like to thank Georgia which has hosted us over these days because at least for me this has been an opportunity to acquire greater awareness of the regional situation. Madame Deputy Secretary General I believe that sharing is something which is based on awareness, because awareness is really a pillar on which we can find common programs and if we share to a large extent the concerns of colleagues who look to the east, we should have equal awareness on the part of all allies with regard to the southern front which perhaps is more difficult to interpret and construe, but which means that the countries of the Mediterranean, Italy, Spain and Greece are involved in a front which is very difficult to manage.

Not just for security concerns, I’m saying this because obviously we’re a very active member of NATO in terms of quality and quantity. We’re involved in many, on many fronts, I think that we are fully reliable partners but, allies, but we would like to think about the possibility of developing new criteria with regard to contributions because we’re on an informal front but I must say that these Mediterranean countries are also the southern defence for our coalition and probably we face costs which are not so visible as those of some countries which are friends of ours which face Russia, but I think our costs should be borne in mind. I’d like to ask for your comments on that.

Q: [Interpreted]: Distinguished colleagues, Deputy Secretary General. First of all let me also thank you on behalf of the Austrian delegation for the hospitality that we have enjoyed here in Georgia. And allow me to congratulate you on the political stability here in this region which makes a contribution toward strengthening stability in Europe. I have two remarks. Things we have constantly been speaking about and that’s the defence of our values. We are very strong when it comes to winning over the people and convincing them of our values.

The Deputy Secretary General has spoken about this tool box because I believe that apart from the military component we need the political, the economic and the social framework conditions, the conditions in those countries from which terrorism is spreading or countries from which migrants are coming to Europe and we have to do more to strengthen those countries. I believe Partnership for Peace is an important tool in this context which we should expand but at the same time we have to defend our common values back home in our own countries.

We as parliamentarians realize that democratic elections lead to different political parties coming to power and it is our joint responsibility to prevent islamophobia or human rights violations in our own member states, the member states of NATO, the European Union or the United Nations. We have to openly address these problems in order to win the hearts and minds of the people we are working for. So I would like to call for an open debate amongst friends here within NATO Parliamentary Assembly in order for us to have a real chance of cultivating and supporting our common defence and security policy and Austria as a strong contributor of troops would like to offer to continue its support in the future too.

Moderator: Mr. [inaudible] Portugal.

Q: Thank you very much President and thank you to Madame Deputy Secretary General by this excellent presentation. In that same time I would like also to congratulate the organization of this meeting in Georgia, we are in a very well presented initiative. But my question is related to the last decisions taken after in Warsaw at that same time, last decisions taken in Brussels. I understand that there were decisions done broadly that, to what’s NATO role in projecting stability in the Middle East and North of Africa region. As important to the military force against DAESH in Syria and Iraq, the international community also needs to think more about what follows, the eventual defeat of the terror organization on battle field.

What is needed to bring stability and prosperity not only to Iraq and Syria but also to regions inside Africa and in centre of Africa. And as far as NATO role in Middle East and Africa region is concerned the alliance runs a number of important capacity building initiatives for [inaudible] on combatting terrorist threats in the region. Are there any plans to develop these initiatives further? If so what are they? And joining to this I would like also to understand what are the changes that are going to be made in the future of NATO itself in order to face the challenge that we face from the south? Thank you very much.

Moderator: Next three question. Ms. Leona [inaudible] of Canada. Ms. Rose [inaudible] Turkey. Ms. [inaudible] Georgia.

Rose Gottemoeller: Thank you very much. Again very good questions. Italy’s question, our Italian colleague’s question, we are bearing in mind the particular challenges on the southern front and we are particularly bearing in mind these challenges because NATO is increasingly present. I’m thinking about our two maritime operations going on there, Operation Sea Guardian wherein we are working closely with, with the EU Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean and the operation, naval operation in the eastern Aegean. Both of them focused on the particular issue of the strong migrant flows over the past several years across the Mediterranean and the Aegean and into Europe.

And so NATO I would say by the very fact of its engagement and involvement in recent times has increasingly had a wake up call as to the particular challenges confronting our southern allies. And in that context you can see, I mentioned in my remarks our new hub for the south in Naples, this gets to the question by the Portuguese colleague as well a moment ago as to what more we are doing. I mentioned the hub for the south, that is currently taking, taking shape. I do understand that it is now being staffed up, I was just briefed by SACEUR along with Secretary General not very long ago, about 10 days ago, and the staffing up of the hub for the south is proceeding apace.

This is located in Naples and it is focused specifically on better coordination, better information sharing for the challenges that NATO and the allies face in the southern region. In addition to which some very particular actions have been undertaken recently. For example we, as the North Atlantic Council, the NAC we went to Kuwait two months ago to open a new training centre that was built with the help of the Kuwaitis and those countries around the Gulf who are increasingly interested in cooperating with NATO and engaging in training and capacity building with NATO.

So that centre will be focused on training and capacity building and specifically to bring new capacity for the fight against violent extremism and the fight against terrorism to that region. Another very trenchant example is our recent interaction with Libya, with Mr. al-Sarraj sending a letter to the Secretary General a few months ago asking for support from the NATO alliance, we have had recently a team in Tunis to speak to the Libyans and to others who are working there by the way, the EU mission and the UN missions have been very, very helpful in helping to form a NATO agenda for working with Libya and again to deconflict what EU is doing there as well as the individual countries working there from what NATO may contribute.

So this must be a group effort, it cannot be NATO alone, again we do not have all the tools in our tool kit to do so but we are increasingly paying attention to the challenges from the south and doing everything we can in working with other interested individual countries but also partners in the international organizations to make, to make a difference there. So that is an increasing trend. And I think it will continue to be a very, very much a priority for NATO going forward.

 I just wanted to thank Austria. I think in answering these last two questions I answered the question more or less but I did want to take note of the strong partner that Austria is, particularly in the western Balkans. We haven’t really talked about the Western Balkans much at, at this setting this morning but it was very much discussed at the NATO heads of state and government meeting last Thursday.

There is a general concern around the NATO table, the NAC table about developments in the Western Balkans and Austria has been playing an incredibly important role both in bringing Austrian troops to Bosnia-Herzegovina, to KFOR for help in operations in the region and I just wanted to express my appreciation for, for Austria’s partnership with NATO in particularly in that Western Balkans setting, but in other settings as well. But as we haven’t yet really talked about Western Balkans I did want to mention that particularly. Thank you.

Moderator: Leona [inaudible], Canada.

Q: I thank you very much. I wanted to say how encouraged I am and how Canada views the national plans and particularly the capability output but recognizing that the strength of our alliance is to be able to respond in a coordinated and effective fashion. As technology becomes increasingly more complex and expensive and the range and requirements of those outputs and capabilities becomes even more broad and deep, each of our countries may not be able to have the focus on those capabilities, each one to the comprehensive complex way that we would want to address them.

So I wonder if you could expand somewhat on the integration of those capability outputs in, that will come from the national plans, so that we might have a performance metric, a visibility on how we’re achieving interoperability and the capabilities so that we as an alliance can address each one of the requirements and capability outputs in a distributed fashion and perhaps work with member states to ensure that they can contribute so that we cover the breadth and depth, obviously without infringing on national sovereignty but certainly in a mechanism where we can understand where the strengths of the alliance lie and perhaps where the opportunities that we need to be more comprehensive as a result of these capability outputs from the national plans. Thank you.

Moderator: [Inaudible], Turkey.

Q: Thank you chairman. Thank you Madame Deputy Secretary General. I welcome that NATO has joined coalition against DAESH but I would like to focus on the long term challenges in the Middle East and North Africa. In particular on an issue we discussed in my committee, science and technology committee. Food and water security. Do you see a role for NATO in the political dialogue with partners in the region on this issue? Could you, could we build up the [inaudible] strategic evidence on climate changes impacts? Thank you.

Moderator: Sergei [inaudible] Georgia.

Q: Thank you very much. I want to welcome back Deputy Secretary General in her new capacity and congratulate on the assumption of this important position. First I want to give a brief comment, I was very delighted to hear in her intervention she linked as she has done previously as well Georgia and Ukrainian issues because indeed the problem of Russian occupation is common and it’s the same issue in Georgia and in Ukraine and it is indeed very important that this linkage is made throughout, at every level by all the high officials.

Now the question is linked to the work that Madame Deputy Secretary General is very well aware and she’s been working on it, that is the issue of the arms control. And we have seen how this process of negotiations on the arms control has been suspended with, between the NATO countries and Russia in the last few years but then we’ve also seen some steps undertaken at the end of last year with the German chairmanship of the OSCE, with the initiative by Minister Steinmeier and then the decision in Hamburg, OSCE Ministerial Council. My question is about your take on where that process could potentially go, whether there’s any chance of discussion and how deep is this issue buried to be very frank? Thank you.

Moderator: Last three questions. Mr. Raphael [inaudible] Slovenia. Lord Campbell, United Kingdom, new vice president of our assembly. Tom Bruke (sp?) Netherlands.

Rose Gottemoeller: Again three excellent questions. I thank all of you for the excellent calibre of this discussion this morning. These are some tough questions, I will do my best. Canada, your question is especially challenging because technology is moving faster I think than we can sometimes incorporate it into our defence capabilities. And so it’s a very important and urgent question. We do have some mechanisms within NATO, we just completed for example a special study by an outside group of experts looking at how we can enhance and speed up the acquisition of capabilities that are jointly acquired because of the very problem that by the time they are finally acquired from beginning to end, often a process of 16 or more years, technology has moved on.

We need as an alliance to be better able to incorporate new technologies, particularly as in our joint capabilities, in jointly acquired capabilities. So the capability outputs that each country makes that’s one aspect but as you referred to the necessity of thinking through also how we achieve coherence inside the alliance in terms of capabilities jointly acquired, I think that is also a very, very important point. We, coherence is one of the big buzz words in the alliance right now.

How do we achieve coherence on a number of different trajectories and so I welcome this question, I want to assure you it is a priority for attention in the alliance. I also wanted to refer you to a study I heard briefed this weekend by General John Allan at GlobeSec, some of you may have been there, actually you probably wouldn’t have been here because you’ve been here, in Tbilisi. But General Allan and his team on behalf of GlobeSec are working on a study on precisely this issue of how to better incorporate and more speedily incorporate new technologies and innovation into jointly acquired capabilities in the alliance and they are soon to be reporting out their, their conclusions on this matter.

So he gave an initial briefing, I thought it, he had some and the group has some very, very good ideas that we as an alliance are going to need to look at and I, I commend you the study and you’ll have to draw your own conclusions as to what you think about it. But it is a very significant and important problem and I do think that our new national plans with the focus on capability outputs gives us inside the alliance as well as working together with national capitals a new opportunity to focus precisely on how do we do this better, how we incorporate new technologies into our capabilities as a national matter but also in terms of jointly acquired capabilities.

Turkey’s question on climate change impacts. You know frankly I do welcome again that this is a working group inside the assembly and that you have been focused on this problem because frankly I think there has been inadequate attention to this as a spur for continuing waves of migration. It is a fact that we have seen this historically and it could very well prove to be the case again, in fact I think we are already seeing some of those effects following the waves of severe drought in North, North Africa.

So I do commend the group for this work, it is something that we are also paying attention to in NATO. We do have, we do have a division that focuses on these matters and tries to bring these issues to the NAC table and to the other levels of discussion in the alliance and to decision making in the alliance but we will look forward to seeing the results of your work and we’ll certainly want to work with you on carrying forward some efforts at solution, particularly in terms of what NATO can do as a defence alliance. And again we have a very particular role on defence and security, we cannot do everything inside the alliance but we do have a very particular role. So thank you for raising that issue and we look forward to the results of your, of your work.

 Finally very astute noting that you are welcoming me back in my new capacity. I don’t think many in this room know that I was actually present in 2006 when the NATO Parliamentary Assembly met with the Russian State Duma and other representatives of the legislature in Sochi, not so very far away, and that was actually the first time that I spoke to the Parliamentary Assembly in the capacity of director at the time of the Carnegie Moscow Centre.

So I do want to say so much has happened since that point but I saw on that occasion and some of you who were there may also have felt, I thought it was palpable that negative attitude was developing already among the Russian parliamentarians on that occasion over 10 years ago at this point. And so in some ways we were getting wake up calls for what happened in 2008 and laterally in 2014 and since at the parliamentary level even in that period. But I very much welcome this opportunity to speak to you today, again it’s really been terrific and I hope to have more opportunities going forward because it is extraordinarily useful for me to hear your points of view.

Your question on arms control and what’s going on with the OSCE so called structured dialogue. I think we need to be cautious. We do already have in place a series of conventional arms control agreements and treaties in NATO, I’m sorry in Europe. We have the Vienna Document which is an agreement on confidence and predictability measures. We have the Conventional Arms Control, Convention Forces in Europe Treaty, the so called CFE Treaty which the Russians have not been implementing since 2007, again another wake up call which we were acutely aware of at the time but how it all fits together I think has only become clear in latter periods.

By the way we’re all concerned that Russia’s not fully been living up to its commitments under the Vienna Document as well to notify on major exercises such as the upcoming Zapad 17 exercise. So there are considerable concerns in that realm. The Open Skies Treaty, another treaty where we have concerns about Russian compliance. So I think that we have a body of treaties and agreements that are important, that are significant and that at the moment are being inadequately implemented and we need to look for ways to, to work on solving those problems before we march forward, just set them aside and march forward to a new conventional arms control regime.

I’m not saying those regimes are perfect by any means, in fact some of them are structurally out of date because CFE was developed as a treaty between the Warsaw Pact and NATO so we need to be thinking for example about how to move forward, indeed we did so in an adaptation of the treaty. We need to be thinking about how we work on the basis of those existing regimes rather than setting them aside and marching forward to a new conventional arms control regime.

So I do think that that is an important matter for continued attention, not so much by NATO but by the member countries of the OSCE. But in the meantime I do commend the work of the so called structured dialogue under the umbrella of the OSCE. They will have a new meeting coming up on the seventh of June to talk about forced posture in exercises. I think it is an excellent forum because it is a very inclusive forum throughout Europe and you are involved in it around this room and I think it can help to elucidate some of the major issues now and help us to think more clearly about what we do to, to move forward with the existing treaties and agreements. Thank you.

Moderator: [Inaudible], Slovenia.

Q: First I would like to thank our Georgian friends for organizing excellent session. I hope that they will be soon, soon as possible a full member of NATO. Second we in Slovenia are heavily dependent what’s going on in Balkan, that’s for sure and Balkan is becoming more and more explosive region. We have political crisis almost everywhere in the Balkan, especially right now in Macedonia, Bosnia and in Kosovo and ethnic tensions are rising.

Without Euro Atlantic future Balkan can explode, that’s why I’m encouraging everybody in this hall to focus more in the future on the Balkan. And third beside this I would like to focus a little bit on the cyber security. The last cyber attack affected more than 150 countries. In Slovenia important company was shut down for two days. Definitely cyber space is becoming battlefield of 21st century. Madam Deputy Secretary General what is NATO doing to improve cyber security defence capability and what is NATO doing to secure critical infrastructure in member states?

Moderator: Lord Campbell, United Kingdom.

Q: Madam Deputy Secretary General may I begin by congratulating you not only in the substance but the stamina of your contribution this morning. You may be aware that in recent years particularly under the presidency of my British colleague Hugh Bailey the assembly has taken a particular interest in the transparency of the accounts of the alliance and again particularly in the publication of prompt and audited accounts. It’s true to say that in the beginning there was some resistance in these matters but progress has since been obtained. Can you give an undertaking that that progress will be continued so that those who have the responsibility of voting for the sums paid by our governments to the alliance are fully informed as to how that money is being spent?

Moderator: [Inaudible] Bruke, Netherlands.

Q: Thank you chair, Madame Deputy. It was noted by many that the US President failed to explicitly embrace or endorse Article Five. That is of course the pinnacle of our alliance. Combined with his previous statements that were reversed [audio cuts out]…raises anew questions on the strength of our solidarity within the alliance. It’s very unfortunate as far as we’re concerned, the Kremlin couldn’t be happier, but at the same time rightfully so the American President clearly demanded more of all of us in order to get to 2 %.

Now let me make clear that we believe that this is not just a matter of more cash, it is, it’s also a matter of stepping up common capabilities. I have two questions to Mrs. Gottemoeller. First is on capabilities, you said a list is going to be published, is there also a plan to enforce or promote further cooperation of those joint capabilities? Let’s share the burden more equally and potentially relieve our American friends, I’m particularly thinking of ballistic missile defence in which for example my country has made some concessions back in 2010 already at the NATO summit.

And the second question goes to the beginning of my question, can Mrs. Gottemoeller reflect on the Article Five discussion that has unfortunately now resurfaced. How do we cement the alliance of 28, soon 29, and at the same keep the perspective for more members in the future without eroding solidarity?

Rose Gottemoeller: Let me again take each of these questions in turn. And as to stamina I do note the respected delegation from the United States of America are congressman and senators, I’m accustomed to testimony for long hours in front of the US Congress, so this is a new level of challenge being in front of multiple parliaments at once. But as to the time involved it’s frequently two hours or more, so we get used to it.

 Slovenia’s question about the Western Balkans. Yes it is indeed a situation that is explosive and we do agree that it is important to continue both NATO and the EU to be very present there and to do what we can to support and bolster reforms, to continue in some cases as in the KFOR operation to provide for security training, for and for downright security in the region. And so we will continue, continue those efforts. I think it’s very important, furthermore I can commit to this group that we will continue to do so at a high level.

The Secretary General visited KFOR and Bosnia-Herzegovina in February. We have had our senior military leadership visiting there frequently, I can’t tell you how many times SACEUR has been in the Western Balkans in recent months but he goes very, very frequently as does, does the chairman of the military committee. So, and I myself, in fact my first trip as the Deputy Secretary General was to Montenegro for a very important emergency response exercise that they hosted back in October. And I wanted to use that example to point to what I think is very important, again we must continue to be present but we must continue to be present at all levels and in ways that benefit those societies because many of those societies do not feel, you know 100 % for NATO or 100 % for EU membership.

There are many who criticize both organizations and are pulling in another direction. And so I think when we go to those countries we need to be working with them in ways that really shows that, you know we have joint interests, we have mutual interests and we can help to develop capacity that they need. This emergency response exercise was a great example because they were focused in that case on, on rescue, water rescue. Those states around that region has suffered many catastrophic floods in recent years from heavy rainfall and so the notion of focusing exercise and training on water rescue, it may seem like a very simple thing but it was very easy then to tell the Montenegrin public when I was there, we are here because we are helping your emergency response forces be better able to deal with catastrophic flooding going forward. It’s not all about defence per se, it’s about areas where the NATO alliance can help you with problems that you have to maintain your society, to maintain your economy and to maintain the survival of your people, in that case against a natural catastrophe. So I think that’s a very, very important point and it’s where NATO continues to pay attention. I know EU pays attention to those kinds of factors as well.

 For our UK colleague I cannot tell you how many stacks of IBAN reports arrive on my desk on a monthly basis and so I certainly can endorse and stress that we feel that this transparency is very, very important. I know and it happened before my time, I know that it was on behalf of pressure from this organization as well as from several different directions that more attention came to be paid on, on the institutional accounting, the so called IBAN reports but I can definitely undertake that we will continue that attention. I will continue, I can’t promise I read them word for word from beginning to end but I always read the summaries and I read the recommendations very carefully and, and read the annual results very carefully as to how they have come along and where they are failing to come yet up to, to full level of the quality that we expect. So we do keep, keep a close eye on this and I personally am engaged in that process.

 And finally on the Netherlands question, two questions actually. Let me just circle back on cyber, I’m sorry I forgot our Slovenian colleague asked about cyber and cyber response. The alliance as well is almost daily suffering cyber attacks and so we have a lot that we must do for our own institutional networks and so we are constantly focused on this. I’ve been in charge of the, of the move to the new headquarters as well and one of the main reasons why we haven’t been able to start the move is that we wanted to make sure the new networks in the new building were as immune to cyber attacks as they possibly could be.

Now the cyber criminals and the countries who are involved in these cyber attacks are very smart, very good at what they’re doing so they’re constantly finding new ways but we have to make sure as an alliance that our networks are as defended as they can possibly be and we have to be light on our feet. We have to be able and capable of finding quick responses when new types of attacks appear. So we are constantly alert to our own institutional networks, that’s one layer where we’re working this problem but last summer at Warsaw the alliance decided that cyber must be an operational domain, it must be a domain of operations like the conventional domain for example.

And so we are also working as a matter of, of our operational planning, training, exercising to figure out exactly how cyber is incorporated into, into alliance policy at the military level. This I will stress is taking place under the rubric of our overarching principle that NATO is a defensive alliance, therefore we are treating the cyber threats as a problem of defence, as a problem of defence and I do want to stress that. There is not an offensive aspect to how NATO as NATO thinks about this problem but we are alert to it and working it at several different levels.

Let met take the Netherlands question in reverse order because, well actually I think I’ll take the capabilities question first and then end up on Article Five because it will be a good wrap up. Unless new questions have emerged? No, alright. On, how we look at moving forward on the capabilities front I sense around this room a lot of commitment and understanding that your countries are engaged in providing NATO the capabilities that it needs to do operations, to be able to you know a great example I mentioned in my remarks is that many countries have stepped forward now to provide for tanker capacity for the AWACS planes so that we can stay aloft longer on our missions related to the anti ISIL coalition.

And indeed we are enhancing that effort now coming out of the meeting last Thursday, we will be focusing on some additional air traffic control operations to support the anti ISIL coalition and the more in that crowded airspace our NATO AWACS can stay aloft to provide that important air traffic control the better and more effectively others can perform their roles in the counter ISIL coalition. So we want to be able truly and really to continue to nurture those joint capabilities and it is very important but we also need to make sure that we’re looking for ways for the allies to, to get proper credit for that in their annual plans.

I am convinced frankly seeing the sophistication of the discussion as to how we came up with these annual plans and how they will be put together that there will be due attention to giving nations credit for, for the joint capabilities that they are providing to the alliance. So I can say no more about it at this point since the proof of the pudding will be in the making, that’s a good old, I don’t know in your language whether there’s a, a slogan like that but I certainly have every reason to be confident at this moment that there will be attention to it in any event.

 Now on Article Five and the Article Five debate. First of all I believe we need to look at Mr. Trump’s presence at NATO headquarters last Thursday in two important ways. First of all his very presence there in the dedication of the Article Five and 9/11 memorial spoke to the commitment of the United States of America to Article Five and to our common defence. There have been a lot of people who have remarked in that regard, in fact Sean Spicer, the president’s secretary, press secretary, put out you know some press lines to that effect even that very day on Thursday.

So, and General McMaster, the National Security Advisor, over the weekend reiterated those points that the very presence of the president and his actions really underscore the, the strong commitment of the United States of America to Article Five. Sec Gen Stoltenberg also remarked on this during his press conference. So that’s not entirely satisfying to countries, I know it’s not entirely satisfying to you and to publics but then I would ask you to look at the other point that I wanted to stress in this regard and that is last Tuesday, a week ago from, a week ago from tomorrow, the national budget of the United States was rolled out and it was a budget, in the defence budget that called for an additional $1.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative.

Our national budget as I know for many of your countries comes from the president, it comes from the executive branch and then it must go to the congress for congressional oversight and scrutiny, adjustments and changes. But as far as the message out of the White House is concerned and by the way the president reiterated this point to the presidents and prime ministers around that dinner table last Thursday night, he said we put in new and significant money for the European Reassurance Initiative and I hope that our congress will support it. So as far as the president is concerned to me that is the most significant message you can take away about the meaning of Article Five and our cooperative mutual defence commitments under the NATO alliance. In this case I’ll use another cliché slogan, the money of the United States is where it’s mouth is, so to say and that includes President Trump as well.

So if there are no further questions it just remains to me to thank you all very much once again for this opportunity. I wanted to take note, I was remiss earlier not to mention the presence today as well as the president, prime minister and, and chairman of the parliament here in Georgia, I wanted to mention the presence of Chairman Parubiy of the Ukrainian Parliament as well and I know he will be speaking to you next. I truly welcomed the opportunity to meet with him when I was in Kiev in April and the work of the, of the parliament in Ukraine is extraordinarily important to Ukrainian processes of reform as well. So again I’m very glad to have had a chance to see him here today and I’m very glad to have had this chance to speak to you all about the goals of the NATO alliance and where we go from here. And my final appeal is we look forward to your help and advice, I look forward to seeing the results of many of your studies and look forward to future opportunities to engage with you. Thank you very much.

Moderator: Thank you Madame Gottemoeller, thank you for your great speech and for your clear and very important answers to all, to numerous questions you got from our audience.