by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a Town Hall event at the University of Ottawa

  • 04 Apr. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Apr. 2018 14:09

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participating in a Town Hall event at the University of Ottawa

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Good morning and thank you so much.  It's a great pleasure and honour to be here at the University of Ottawa.  And I say that because I actually appreciate to be here for several different reasons.

First of all, I really like acadamic... academic institutions and I have actually made deliberate decision when it comes to my career and that was to not become a politician, but instead to work as a researcher, partly at the University of Oslo and partly in the Central Bureau of Statistics in Norway, and I did that for two years and I felt that I was on the right track for my life, working in academic life, teaching and scientific work.  Then I was asked to become Deputy Minister for Environment back in 1990, in Norway, and I said "I will do it for one year maximum".  Since then, I've been in politics and I still have a longing for the academic life.  So, since I'm not an academic myself, I like to visit universities to meet students, teachers, and to at least have some kind of feeling of what I could have done if I haven’t… what shall I say… [laughs] lost my life in politics.


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: And now I think it's too late to go back to the academic life, so I will always be kind of only a visitor to universities.  The second reason why I appreciate to be here is that this is the birthday of NATO, 4th April.  So, NATO was established 69 years ago today.  And that’s also the reason why I have these socks, which are NATO socks.


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: I have to explain why I'm wearing that kind of socks.  So… It is from Canada! So, that’s the way I… so this is actually a kind of birthday party for NATO and you're all invited to take part in that celebration.  And the third reason why I like to be in Ottawa in Canada is that Norwegians, we have very strong and warm feelings for Canada.  For many reasons.  Partly because of the weather, it reminds us of Norway, we feel at home here.  [coughs] And this is Norwegian summer.  Then…


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Then… [laughs] then… then it gives us also… every time I go to Canada, it gives me an opportunity to remind people about the fact which many of you have forgotten and that is that it was actually a Norwegian, Lief Erickson, that discovered Canada 1,000 years ago, but he forgot… he left and then forgot to tell some… some… many people about it, so he's not as famous as Columbus.  But in Norway, he is as famous as Columbus.  So, this is also my opportunity to remind you that it was actually a Norwegian that discovered Canada.  He came from Iceland, so the Icelandic they say he was Icelandic, but we call him Norwegian.


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: But then the last reason why I appreciate to be here is that I appreciate this opportunity to share with you some thoughts and some reflections on the challenges NATO is facing and then I will do that, and after that I will be ready to answer your questions.  So, I'll not cover all the topics and not give you all the answers in my introduction, but I will point at some main issues and some main topics and then I will be happy to answer questions afterwards.

NATO is the most successful Alliance in history and the main reason why NATO is the most successful military Alliance in history is that NATO has been able to change, to adapt, when the world is changing.  And I guess that many of you knows the his… many of you know the history of NATO, but just to briefly recap, NATO was founded in 1949, 4th April, and for 40 years NATO did actually only one thing, and that de to… that was to deliver deterrence against the Soviet Union.  We did that mainly in Europe and in the beginning we were only 12 members, the United States, Canada and then ten European countries, and we deterred the Soviet Union by being strong in Europe, with also a Canadian and a US presence in Europe.  And we did that successfully.  We prevented any conflict from erupting and we helped to end the Cold War without one single shot being fired.  And in '89, the Soviet Union was dissolved and also the Warsaw Pact.  And then, in '89/'90, people started to ask "Do we need NATO anymore?"  Because in one way we had fulfilled our main task, and that was to deter the Soviet Union against attacking any NATO Ally.  And then some people also said that NATO had to either go out of territory, meaning… or out of area, meaning go out of Europe, or the NATO Allied countries in Europe, or NATO had to go out of business.  And actually what happened then, in the beginning of the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, after the end of the Cold War, after the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact was dissolved, were dissolved, we went out of area, meaning that we went into the Balkans for the first time, and I… because then I was actually a young politician in Norway and I remember that was extremely controversial, to just think about NATO moving out of NATO territory.  So, at that stage we regarded to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the military operations of Serbia and Kosovo, as a very dramatic decision.  But we made that decision, we changed, we adapted, and then NATO helped, during the 1990s, to end two wars in the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, and later on, after the 9/11 attacks against United States, NATO also became an important tool in the fight against terrorism.  Our biggest military operation ever has been in Afghanistan as a direct response to a terrorist attack on United States.  And that’s also the only time we have invoked our collective defence clause, Article 5, also after response, or after an attack on United States.

So then for approximately 20… for 40 years we did collective defence in Europe and only that, '49 to '89.  Then, for approximately 25 years, we did crisis management beyond our borders, in Balkans and in Afghanistan, fighting pirates off the Horn of Africa, and then the world changed again in 2014, that’s another pivotal year in the history of NATO because what happened in 2014 was at least two things.  First, we saw a more assertive Russia that used military force against the neighbour, illegally annexing Crimea and started to destabilise Eastern Ukraine.  Second, we saw something very different, but also close to NATO borders, we saw Daesh, ISIL, growing from an organisation that hardly anyone had heard about, to an organisation that controlled big parts of Syria and Iraq.  They were actually able to threaten Baghdad, they took Mosul, they controlled territory as big as the United Kingdom, close to seven or eight, between seven and eight million people.  That’s on the border of NATO, on the border of Turkey.  And then, on top of that, we have seen proliferation of nuclear weapons, North Korea [coming a bit later], and cyberattacks and so on.  So, since 2014, our security environment has fundamentally changed again.  That’s a bad thing, meaning that the world has become more dangerous.  The good thing is that NATO has once again proven that we are able to adapt when the world changes.

And NATO has responded to a more unpredictable, a more unstable world, by implementing the biggest adaptation of our Alliance since the end of the Cold War.  We have responded in different ways, but let me briefly mention the most important elements of our adaption since 2014.  First, we have implemented the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence in a generation.  We have more forces, more ready forces and more prepared forces.  We have tripled the size of what we call the NATO Response Force and we have, for the first time in our history, deployed combat ready troops to the eastern part of the Alliance, with more presence in the Black Sea region, but especially with what we call Enhanced Forward Presence or four battlegroups in Poland and the three Baltic countries.  One of those battlegroups are led by Canada and I met the Canadian troops in Latvia in 2016.  They are committed, they are professional and I'm impressed by the dedicated to serving so far away from their own country, contributing to our collective security, our shared… our collective defence, our shared security.  And that’s… and of course, the importance of having Canadian troops in Latvia is partly that they are professional, well trained, well equipped, but partly also that they send a very strong signal of transatlantic unity, by having Canadian troops in Latvia, US troops in Poland, it sends a very strong message that we are united, it is a real transatlantic Alliance, NATO is present, multinationally present in the eastern part of the Alliance.  So, anything that… similar to what happened in Ukraine, in Crimea, in Eastern Ukraine, cannot happen to a Baltic State, because NATO is there providing the security guarantees, the strong deterrence, and if any Baltic country is attacked then NATO will immediately be there because we already have deployed forces.

So, that’s part of our adaptation, to strengthen collective defence in Europe.  We are also training our forces more and we are addressing and stepping up our efforts to respond to… how shall I say… threats and challenges which don’t know any borders, like for instance cyber threats.  We are significantly building up our cyber capabilities, exercising more, sharing technology, sharing best practices, and of course some NATO Allies have a lot of cyber capabilities, others are small and have less, but by working together we help each other, and NATO has a team with experts 24/7 ready to do… to be deployed to different NATO Allied countries, to help them if they suffer cyberattacks.

We have also decided that cyberattacks can be as serious as kinetic attacks, conventional attacks, meaning that a cyberattack can trigger Article 5 because we see that, you know, the whole idea is that… in the past, it was easier to establish a clear line between peace and war.  One of the challenges we face now is that it's a much more blurred line between peace and war.  Real… in the… not so many decades ago, war started by one nation declaring war and an ambassador went up and gave a note to the other countries that we declare war, and then they start to fight on some battlefields.  Well, the… and then normally the war ended with a peace conference or kind of deal.  And I, coming from Norway, know that, for instance in the Second World War, in Norway, it started 9th April and then it ended 8th… 9th April 1940 and it ended 8th May 1945.  And we know exactly which countries that were involved in the Second World War, Norway was, Denmark was, but not Sweden.  Now, war is very different.  Because, for instance, it's very hard to say exactly when did the war against ISIL start, or Daesh start.  We don’t give a date.  It's hard to say where did it take place.  It took place in Syria and Iraq, and it still takes place there, but it has also taken place in the streets of our own countries, with terrorist attacks organised by Daesh in our countries.  It has taken place in many other countries, in the Middle East, North Africa, but even in Asia.  We have Daesh, ISIL, in Afghanistan.  And it takes place in cyberspace.  And I doubt whether we ever will be able to say that the war against Daesh or ISIL ended on a specific date.

So, one of the challenges we face is this blurred line between peace and war, and that the conflict takes place in so many more dimensions.  Therefore, we have… when we are speaking about increasing our collective defence, that’s partly about the conventional forces, the deployment and so on, but it's also about intelligence, doing more in the fight against cyber, hybrid tactics, a higher readiness, to be able to respond quickly if needed, and so on.

So, when we adapt NATO, it is about adapting NATO in many different dimensions.  Part of that is also to step up our efforts to fight terrorism and NATO has played a key role in the fight against terrorism for many years, especially since 9/11, because that’s still our biggest military operation, the operation in Afghanistan, as I just said.  But I think that the lesson we have learned from Afghanistan, but also from Iraq and other countries, is that yes, NATO and NATO Allies have to be ready to deploy forces in big combat operations, as we for instance did in Afghanistan or in Bosnia and Herzegovina, taking part in big combat operations, but in the long run it is better to train local forces than deploy our own forces in combat operations, because we will always be foreigners in foreign countries, we will also be… they will always try to depict us as occupants and someone coming from the outside trying to solve their problems.  So, if we can help them solving their problems, help them to solve… to stabilise their countries and to fight terrorism themselves, then it's much better.

So therefore yes, we have to be ready to deploy forces in combat missions if needed, but it's more viable, more effective and more sustainable if you can enable countries, in the Middle East, in North Africa, in Afghanistan, to stabilise their own countries themselves.  And that’s exactly why we gradually are shifting our focus from combat operations to training missions, helping countries.  That’s what we do in Afghanistan now.  We have ended the combat operations, NATO is not conducting combat operations in Afghanistan any longer.  At the peak, we were more than 100,000 combat troops, NATO combat troops in Afghanistan, Canada was there.  Now we are around 15,000 to 16,000 NATO troops doing training, assist, advise the Afghan troops.  I'm not saying the situation in Afghanistan is easy, but I'm saying at least it's a big achievement that we have enabled the Afghan troops, the Afghan national security forces, to be responsible for security in their own country.  We should do more of that.  That’s also the reason why we are now in the process of establishing a training mission in Iraq, where we will scale up NATO's training of Iraqi forces, helping them to fight Daesh, to stabilise their own country.  We are working with countries like Jordan and Tunisia, very different situation but the same idea, prevention is better than intervention, training is better than combat, if we can avoid combat.  That’s also part of the way we are adapting NATO.

I mentioned cyber, let me also add that we are also building up our missile defence systems.  One thing is what you do in North America or… and that’s… but also you have a NATO system in Europe, we have Aegis Ashore, Aegis ships in… based in Rota in Spain, with a missile… so that they can intercept incoming missiles.  We have a site in Romania and we are building a new site in Poland, and we have some radars, so this is an advanced system of missile defence which we are then gradually building out in Europe.

To do all this, to increase the readiness of our forces, to have deployment of troops in the eastern part of the Alliance, to exercise more, to have better equipment, to scale up what we do in cyber, to fight to terrorism, we need to spend more, and that’s perhaps the strongest expression of that we are now investing more in our security, is that after years of decline and cuts in defence budgets across Europe and Canada, we now see an increase in defence spending again.  European Allies have started to increase and Canada has really started to increase defence spending, after years of decline.  And I commend Canada for the strong increase we have seen in defence spending, which enable… enables Canada to do more for our shared security, our collective defence, but also the strong commitment of Canada to continue to make further increases in defence spending.  That’s important and Canada provides highly professional, high quality capabilities to NATO and we are extremely grateful for that Canada has turned a corner and, after years of decline, started to increase.

Then let me just briefly add on that point, that in one way it's bad news that we have to spend more on defence and when I was Minister of Finance in Norway back in the 1990s, I was quite proud of cutting defence budget, I was an expert on that.


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: I knew all the ways.  [laughs]  And we reduced defence spending in Norway, as in most other European countries and Canada.  But the main argument I used in Norway, as Minister of Finance back in 1990, was that, "Well, tensions are going down, the Cold War is over, we don’t need it".  So, therefore we cut.  But if you reduce defence spending when tensions are going down, you have to be able to increase defence spending when tensions are going up.  And I think there is no way to say that we are not faced with a more unpredictable, unstable world now than we were, for instance, in the 1990s.  So yes, I am able to defend the fact that defence budgets in many NATO Allies, Canada, Norway, many other countries, were reduced in the '90s and actually also in the beginning of 2000, but then we have to increase now, and that’s exactly what's happening.  And we have had three consecutive years of increased defence spending, across Canada and Europe, since 2014, as the first year of increase was in 2015.  We made a decision at our Summit in Wales in 2014 to stop the cuts, gradually increase and move towards spending 2%, and that’s exactly what NATO Allies, including Canada, has started to do.

The last thing I will say is that we have to remember when we now modernise NATO and when we invest more in defence, deploy troops, increase readiness, we have to remember that the purpose of strong defence, the purpose of credible deterrence, is not to provoke conflict.  The purpose is to prevent conflict.  So, therefore NATO is a defensive Alliance.  We respond… our aim is always to respond in a proportionate, measured and defensive way.  Therefore, we also convey a very clear message to Russia that of course we are concerned about what we see, a more assertive Russia illegally annexing Crimea, destabilising Eastern Ukraine, supporting the Assad regime, being responsible for cyberattacks, meddling in domestic democratic processes, and in other ways responsible for actions which are undermining a rules based international order.  And that’s also the reason why NATO Allies and partners reacted the way they reacted after the attack in Salisbury, because that’s not a single event, it's an attack which has taken place on the backdrop of a pattern of behaviour, which we have seen over many years, from Russia, and that’s the reason why we had this unified response, expelling diplomats from NATO Allied countries and from NATO.  But we continue to strive for a better relationship with Russia because Russia is our neighbour, Russia is there to stay, we are not aiming at isolating Russia.  It will be beneficial for us and for them if we could improve the relationship between NATO Allies and Russia, and between NATO and Russia.  So, therefore we will continue to work for arms control, prevent a new Cold War, prevent a… avoid a new arms race, and continue to work for a political dialogue with Russia.  Because NATO is a defensive Alliance, our aim is preserve the peace.  We have done so for almost 70 years and we will continue to do that by standing united and proving able to adapt and change when the world is changing.

So, thank you so much and then I'm ready to take your questions.

Thank you.


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: The use of hybrid tactics, small green men in Crimea and later on in Eastern Ukraine, and that triggered the response of NATO which I just have described.  But just to highlight some of the main things we do to respond to this more blurred line, this… this mixture of military and non military use of aggression or means of aggression, covert and overt operations, cyber and all these different tactics which are not a regular, conventional attack.  We are… you mentioned some of them already.  We need better intelligence to understand what's going on, and therefore we have just established our new Intelligence Division in NATO, and of course this is very much based on the intelligence that different NATO Allies, all the different NATO Allies collect, but to be able… better able to understand, to analyse, to share, we have established a new Intelligence Division in NATO.

We are in the process of developing a new system and capability, including with new surveillance drones, which we will based in… several surveillance drones which will be based in Europe, in Italy, in Sicily.  They will give us a much better picture, situation awareness, if there are crises, instability, somewhere close to our borders.  High readiness of our forces is also a part of the response to hybrid threats because since you don’t know… since there is zero warning time or very little warning time, the readiness of our forces is extremely important.  So, in that sense, also the deployment of the Canadian led battlegroup to Latvia and to the other Baltic countries, is part of the response to hybrid threats because we are already there.  So yes, it's harder to identify when you are under attack, but when you are able to tell then you can react extremely quickly, by high readiness.

Then, the last thing I will say about and… NATO is extremely supportive of rules based international order, that’s actually in our founding treaty, a clear reference and link to the UN Charter, and NATO has been upholding the international rules based order for… since we were founded 69 years ago today.  And we will continue to do so because we strongly believe that that’s the best way to preserve the peace and security of all of us.

QUESTION [Amara]: Hi, my name is Amara, I'm a graduate student here at Public and International Affairs programme and my question is… you mentioned that the world is becoming more unstable and uncertain.  Last week, we… Ottawa actually hosted Steven Pinker who makes the case about how the world is becoming much more safer and like, as a civilisation like we're progressing upward.  So, what would you… how would you respond to his argument and his case about peace?  Thanks.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: So, I don’t know the details of what he said, but I think I agree because the… and then I have to explain because it sounds like I'm contradicting myself.  But the long term trend is that the world becomes a better place to live.  For instance, if measured by life expectancy, that increases almost every year, so people live longer and I think that’s a good… what shall I say… a measurement of [laughs] that we succeed with something.  Child mortality is going down.  Hundred of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and actually if you look at, for instance, I know the statistic for Europe, there are fewer people killed in terrorist attacks today than during the 70s… 60s, 70s and 80s because ETA, IRA and so on, actually killed a lot of people [inaudible] and these terrorist organisations.  And sometimes we tend to forget that.  And to be honest, I very often refer to those figures because we have to remember that while it has been wars before… and there are less people, fewer people killed in regular military conflicts now than at least if you look back a decade, or two or three.  Then there are two or three problems and we have to address them.  First, at least during the last two or three years, we have seen an increase in terrorist attacks, at least in some of our member states.  Again, you had one attack here in Canada against the parliament, but you had Brussels, Paris and so on, in Europe, Nice and other countries, or other cities.  And then you have Daesh, which really pose a real threat to two countries which are neighbouring NATO.  They were close to taking over Baghdad, if NATO Allies hadn’t intervened back in 2014.  And you have a more assertive Russia.  There is no doubt about that Russia is much stronger now.  They have invested heavily in military equipment and modernising their armed forces, including the nuclear forces and they are integrating nuclear forces, tactics, with their conventional tactics.  They are actually blurring the line between conventional and nuclear forces.  And then you have the proliferation of nuclear forces, especially with North Korea.  On top of that you have cyber.  So yes, I agree that the long trend has been that first of all the world is moving in the right direction, higher life expectancy, less child mortality, economic wealth, and also roughly there has been a decrease in people killed in armed conflicts.  But there are some really serious worrying signs going in the opposite direction and we have to respond to them, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

QUESTION [Nabine]: Hello.  First of all, thank you so much for being here.  My question is regarding lethal autonomous weapons systems.

QUESTION [Nabine]: Yeah, sorry.  My name is Nabine.  I am a student at the University of Ottawa, Political Science and Communication.  So, my question is regarding the lethal autonomous weapons systems in which the human is out of the loop.  What is NATO's position on this new technology and what role do you see NATO playing in creating international regulatory bodies?  Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: I think that the development of technologies, like artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, lethal weapons as a… is something which just highlights the importance of a rules based order, respect for international law and, if necessary, augmenting and strengthening the institutions and the rules based order, to make sure that we also can deal with these new weapons systems.

NATO is a strong supporter of rules based order and fully respecting international law, and that’s actually one of the reasons why we exist.  And we always had the dilemma, in a way, that we see new technology, we need to maintain our technological edge, which NATO has always had, that has helped us prevent war, deliver a credible deterrence, but at the same time we should work with other countries to try to establish the institutions we need to avoid those technologies being misused.  And we have one very relevant example now and that’s chemical weapons.  NATO is strongly against chemical weapons and chemical weapons are forbidden, and we support of course the efforts of the OPCW, the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and that’s also one of the reasons why we reacted so strongly when we saw the use of a chemical military nerve agent in Salisbury.

QUESTION [Francis Yel]: Thank you.  My name is Francis Yel.  [inaudible] Sudanese here, President of South Sudanese in Ottawa.  One days when I was in Cairo in the university, one student asking President Mubarak that you might concerning what is going on Middle East, but you are not might concerning what is going on in Africa.  So, today I'm asking… my question is what is exactly the role of NATO in Syria and the war in Yemen?  Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: So, NATO is the answer to, or at least part of the answer to many problems.  But NATO is not the answer to all problems and meaning that many NATO Allies are of course involved in, for instance trying to solve the conflict in Yemen.  NATO is not playing a direct role there as an organisation, but we support strongly the efforts of the UN to find a peaceful solution to end the bloodshed and the violence we see in Yemen.  But NATO as an organisation is not directly involved.

To some extent, not in the same way but to some extent that’s also the case in… for Syria, meaning that NATO is not present on the ground in Syria.  What we do is that we provide support to the counter-ISIL coalition, which has helped to reduce and almost win the battle against ISIL.  The presence of the coalition in Syria and Iraq has liberated almost all the territory that Daesh controlled in Syria and Iraq.  Their job is not done, so the coalition is still present.  NATO is present in Iraq, where we provide training, but we are not present on the ground in Syria.  But again, we support the efforts of finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria because we don’t believe that in the long run there is a military solution, it has to be a negotiated political solution.

QUESTION [Andreas Manbeck]: Hi.  My name is Andreas Manbeck.  It's nice to have another [inaudible].  I'm [inaudible] in history.  First of all, I want to thank you for the response to [inaudible] you’ve been a hero to me for a long time.  How was going from being the Prime Minister of Norway, a very successful one for one thing, if I might add [laughs] to being the leader of NATO?  And I read your piece in the Aftenposten the other week where you mentioned how the West is in kind of a deep peace and that that might be a threat to being able to respond to a conflict.  Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.  It is a big difference, being a Prime Minister in Norway and being Secretary General of NATO, and of course with all respect for Norway, we are not the biggest country in the world, so we are not dominating the international scene, in all areas at least.  We are big in some areas, for instance energy, and together with Canada in the high north and so on, but… so, but… yeah, and the Olympics, that’s important.  So…


JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: So, then… [laughs] but… so, one big difference is of course, but is that of course, when you're Prime Minister of Norway you're focused on Norway, mainly on Norway.  There are some international engagements, but your main responsibility is Norway.  As Secretary General of NATO, you have an international responsibility, almost a global responsibility, at least for NATO and NATO represents close to one billion people.  We are involved also outside our own territory, so it involves more than the member states.  We have many partners, more than 40 partner countries, so we are close to global, or a global institution, also working with global partners.  So, it's a much more international approach than being a Prime Minister of Norway.  The other big difference is that when you're Prime Minister of Norway, or any other country, you have to work with many different issues; health, education, security, defence, environment, transportation, pensions was one of my main favourites when I was [laughs] Prime Minister.  So, then there are many different issues.  When… as Secretary General of NATO, I'm focused on one thing and that is defence, security, international issues.  So, I don’t address all the other issues.  And that’s a big difference.  Having said all that, there are also many similarities because when you are a Prime Minister of Norway, and also many other countries, you need… especially since I was Prime Minister in a coalition government, you need to find compromises and to make people find solutions together.  And that’s very much the same.  That’s not a big difference.  So, the way you work with people, the way you try to find balanced compromises is very parallel from Norwegian politics to Secretary General of NATO.

MODERATOR: So, we have roughly time for two more questions.  I'll ask both of them to ask the questions now and perhaps we can finish off the question period with that.  So, hands?  Now, gentleman in the back and then the gentleman in the front, over there.

QUESTION [George]: Thank you.  Hi, my name is George.  I'm a Master's student here at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.  My question is recently we've seen a massive spike in tension between two NATO partners, Greece and Turkey, so my question is how does NATO go about handling this situation where we might see an actual conflict occur within the Aegean Sea?  And how does NATO go about diffusing this potential situation?

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Both Turkey and Greece are two highly valued NATO Allies and they play an important role, not least in addressing the migrant and refugee crisis, where we have a NATO deployment of NATO ships in the Aegean, helping to implement the agreement between Turkey and EU on the immigration crisis in Europe.  And then NATO provides some ships, Canada has been part of that actually, and NATO also provides a platform for enhanced strengthening cooperation between a non-EU member, but NATO member, Turkey, and the European Union and Greece.  There are some sort of historical differences, but that’s for Greece and Turkey to address, it's not an issues that is for NATO to solve.  We provide a framework for bringing nations together and I welcome the fact that sometimes also Greece and Turkey address their differences in the… also in the… on the margins of NATO meetings, but not for NATO as an organisation to solve those problems.  That’s a bilateral issue that have to address themselves.