Joint press statement
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo
Thank you so much, Prime Minister Szydło.
It’s great to be back here in Warsaw. Poland was the first country I visited as Secretary General when I was appointed back in 2014. And I really appreciate our close cooperation and all the contributions of Poland to our shared security, to our collective defence.
And as you mentioned, one year ago, we had a very successful Summit of NATO here in Warsaw where we made many important decisions on how to adapt, how to change NATO in response to a changing and more demanding security environment. We made the decision to strengthen our deterrence and our defence, and to project stability beyond our borders, not least to fight terrorism. And after the Warsaw Summit we have implemented the greatest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. We have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force, established new headquarters in the east of the Alliance and enhanced our forward presence here in Poland, as well as in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Poland has played a leading role in these efforts. Contributing to our shared security, with exercises on land, at sea and in the air, guarding the airspace of our Baltic neighbours and hosting key NATO facilities, including our Multinational Corps Northeast. And from next year, a site for NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence.
You also helped to project stability beyond our borders, with hundreds of Polish soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Kosovo. And the Polish air force contributes to the global fight to defeat ISIS in the Middle East. And Poland leads by example on defence spending, by investing 2% of GDP on defence. And I also welcome very much your commitment to further increase Polish defence spending.
Today, during our meeting, we discussed the importance of NATO’s presence in Poland. In Orzysz, your forces train together with American, British and Romanian troops. Our multinational battlegroups in Poland and also the battlegroups we have in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are signs of NATO’s unity, strength and resolve. Sending a clear message – that an attack on one Ally is an attack on the whole Alliance. We are here to prevent conflict, not to provoke conflict.
When tensions run high, dialogue is even more important. That’s why NATO has always kept channels of communication open with Russia.
At last month’s meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, Russia briefed on the ZAPAD exercise 2017.
And we will be watching very closely as it takes place next month. All nations have the right to exercise their forces, but nations should also respect their commitments to transparency.
So I call on Russia to ensure compliance with its obligations under the OSCE’s Vienna Document. Because predictability, transparency, is especially important when we have increased military activity along our borders. The Vienna Document is the best platform to ensure predictability and transparency related to military exercises and military activity.
So Prime Minister Szydło, thank you once again for your leadership.
And thank you once again for hosting me and my delegation here in Warsaw. Thank you.