Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Peter Pellegrini

  • 12 Apr. 2018 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 12 Apr. 2018 17:24

(As delivered)

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Peter Pellegrini

So Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini,

It is a great pleasure and honour to welcome you here at NATO Headquarters. This is your first visit. Let me also congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister.

We discussed many issues during our meeting, we addressed the main topics as we prepare for the next Summit of NATO in July in Brussels. How to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence, how to project stability to our neighbourhood, and how to continue to modernise the Alliance And this is a response from the whole Alliance to a more demanding and unpredictable security environment which includes a more assertive Russia. And also the turmoil and violence we see in the Middle East and North Africa.

And I would like to start by thanking you Prime Minister for the many contributions Slovakia is making to NATO, to our shared security, to our collective defence. You contribute to our Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, with your troops there.

You host what we call a NATO force integration unit, which is a small command which can coordinate exercises through planning and facilitate rapid reinforcements, deployments if needed.

I also welcome that Slovakia is making major contributions through different NATO missions and operations.

I recently visited Iraq where I met Slovak trainers that help train local security forces and also the fact that you have trainers and funding for the Afghan national security forces and army.

And on top of that you also play a part in Ukraine, Slovakia is the lead nation in a Trust Fund to help handling unexploded munitions.

So you play an important part and Slovakia is a highly valued Ally.

We also discussed the situation in Syria. We condemn in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons.

The latest attack was horrendous, killing dozens of people, including many children.

We call on the Syrian regime and its backers to allow full and unimpeded access to international medical assistance‎ and international monitoring.

NATO considers the use of chemical weapons a threat to international peace and security.  And those responsible must be held accountable. We must do all we can to protect the ban on the use of chemical weapons.

Prime Minister,

Let me also strongly thank Slovakia for increasing defence spending, for investing more in our security. You brought your Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Kazimir, and I think the fact that he was in the meeting just underlines the Slovak commitment to increasing defence investments. And we welcome your strong commitment to reach our goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence by 2024.

We also welcome the fact that Slovakia has already met the guideline of spending 20% of the budget on major equipment.

So Prime Minister, it’s great to have you here and it’s great to welcome you and I look forward to continue to work together with you. So once again, welcome.