Pre-ministerial press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

  • 04 Dec. 2017 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 04 Dec. 2017 15:12

(As delivered)

Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 5 and 6 December in Brussels

Good morning. This week, NATO’s Foreign Ministers will address, along a wide range of different issues, they will address how NATO can continue to adapt and that’s part of our preparations for the upcoming Summit here in Brussels next July.

We will begin tomorrow with a meeting on NATO-EU cooperation and European defence. Joined by High Representative / Vice President Mogherini, and ministers from Finland and Sweden. On the margins of the NATO Summit in July last year, President Juncker, President Tusk and I signed a Joint Declaration on how to strengthen NATO-EU cooperation. We followed up with a package of 42 concrete measures, which has brought our cooperation to an unprecedented level. We have never worked together as closely and systemically in so many different areas. For instance, we have increased our efforts to counter cyber attacks. We exchange warnings about attacks and malware in real time. And last week the EU participated in NATO’s Cyber Coalition exercise, one of the biggest in the world.

We have also stepped up our cooperation on hybrid threats. Federica and I recently inaugurated the Hybrid Centre of Excellence in Helsinki. And at sea, our cooperation has also been strengthened, our operation Sea Guardian is supporting the EU’s Operations Sophia in its important work.

At this week‘s Ministerial, our aim is to take a step further, with a new package of measures. Today, negotiations on this package are still ongoing. But I hope that we will agree to do even more with the EU. And in more areas. Our aim is to make military mobility a new flagship for our cooperation. In an unpredictable security environment, our troops and our equipment must be able to move quickly whenever we need them to.  This is vital for our security.

And NATO needs the support of national governments and of the European Union to be able to do it. We also intend to strengthen our cooperation on countering terrorist threats. This is of deep concern to our publics, both in Europe and in North America. And we will do more to raise awareness of women’s role in peace and security in our organisations and our operations.

Later on Tuesday, we will discuss global challenges, including North Korea. It is worth remembering that events on the Korean peninsula have shaped NATO profoundly. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 triggered the complete remodelling of the Alliance. It literally put the “O” in NATO. With the creation of a permanent military headquarters, and the positions of Secretary General and SACEUR.

Today our security is also linked to events in East Asia. Last week’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile showed that all Allied nations could be within range. Our partners in the region are at risk. And North Korea’s actions are also undermining the global non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament regimes. So the whole world needs to apply maximum pressure on North Korea. In order to achieve a peacefully negotiated solution. Allies have been clear and consistent in their condemnation. And in pressing for full compliance with international sanctions. NATO has faced ballistic missile threats for decades.

Our response has always been credible deterrence. We have the capabilities and the resolve to deter any attack. Our military strength is what makes diplomatic efforts possible.

On Wednesday, we will address NATO’s role in projecting stability and the fight against terrorism. We are adding three thousand more troops to our training mission in Afghanistan. And we are working with partners like Jordan and Tunisia to strengthen their defences. NATO is contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS with AWACS surveillance flights. And by training Iraqi soldiers. But our work will not be done, even when ISIS no longer controls any territory. Ministers will consider how NATO’s role should evolve. As the Global Coalition moves from combat operations to stabilisation efforts.

On Wednesday, we will hold a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission. Georgia is one of the Alliance’s closest partners. And through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, we are working together on issues ranging from cyber defence to operational planning. Through our Joint Training and Evaluation Centre. And through the NATO-funded Defence Institution Building School, which has already trained around a thousand students. We will look into areas where we could cooperate even more closely, such as Black Sea security.

We will conclude the ministerial meeting with a meeting on NATO’s Open Door policy. As Montenegro’s recent accession has shown, membership in the Alliance is possible for countries which make real progress in reform and modernisation. So we will discuss how best to support those countries which aspire to join our community of shared security and shared values.

We are now just seven months away from NATO’s next Summit, here in Brussels and tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of unveiling the Summit logo, together with Belgian Prime Minister Michel.

So with this, I am ready to take your questions.