by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Warsaw, Poland

  • 28 May. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 16 Jun. 2018 22:31

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Plenary session

President Alli, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, dear friends, it is really a great pleasure to see you all here this morning, so good morning to all of you, and for me it is a great pleasure to be here for many reasons.

First of all to be able to thank you President Alli for your hard work and to thank you and your team for organising and hosting this event. I know that you have worked for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, you have been the President and you have really done tremendous work for many, many years for this organisation, so I thank you so much for that.

Second, I would like to thank all of you, the members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly because the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is important for NATO. NATO is an alliance of 29 democracies and at the core of any democracy we have parliaments. And NATO is a value-based alliance based on the rule of law, individual liberty and democracy, and there for the fact that you are presenting the 29 democracies’ parliaments and, in addition, many of you also representing our partner nations, that makes NATO the alliance which you want to be an alliance that represents democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty.

I’ve been a parliamentarian myself for 20 years, so I really understand the importance of parliaments in our democracies and also the importance of parliaments for defence and security policies because parliaments decide the guidelines, the framework for any government when it comes to conducting defence and foreign policy, but perhaps most important you decide the budget. So I am totally and NATO is totally dependent on you making the right decisions in the different parliaments, and therefore it is a great value that you gather in an assembly like this where you can exchange views, where you can learn from each other and then go back to your national parliaments and make sure that the NATO agenda is high on the national agenda and that you are implementing the different NATO decisions back home in your national parliaments.

The third reason why it is a great pleasure for me to be here today is that I would like to thank Poland for hosting us all today and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; I understand it started on Friday, providing this beautiful hall and also of course the parliament of Poland hosting all of us here today. Warsaw is an historic city for many reasons, but also because Warsaw hosted the 2016 NATO Summit and that was a very important summit at that summit we made decisions which really have transformed and changed NATO. The main deliverable was perhaps the decision to increase our presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance with the four battle groups in the Baltic countries and Poland and with a tailored forward presence in Romania and the Black Sea region.

And now we are looking into how we must continue to adapt and change NATO because NATO is the most successful alliance in history because we have been able to change and adapt when the world is changing. And the Warsaw Summit made important decisions to change NATO to a more demanding security environment. The security environment is more demanding for several reasons: we see more a more assertive Russia meddling in domestic, democratic processes, being responsible for cyber attacks, heavily investing in more modern military capabilities, blurring the line between conventional forces and nuclear forces; and, as we saw back in 2014, being willing to use military force against their neighbour illegally annexing Crimea and destabilising Eastern Ukraine. And as a direct consequence of that aggression against Ukraine we saw the downing of the MH17. And I agree with the Dutch Government which has called upon Russia to take responsibility, its part of the responsibility for the downing, and for fully cooperating, in a transparent way, to make sure that those who are responsible are to be held accountable.

As you also know, we don’t only see a more assertive Russia, we see all the instability, the violence to the south of our Alliance: Iraq, Syria, the Middle East, North Africa. And then we see cyber and we see proliferation of nuclear weapons - North Korea - and many other challenges evolving at the same time. And that’s the reason why NATO is adapting and that’s the reason why the summit in Warsaw was so important. Now we are moving towards our next summit, which will be the summit in Brussels in just a few weeks in July this year and I believe that that summit also will be of great importance. I will briefly mention the main topics, the main issues, which we will address at the summit in July in Brussels. There are many issues and topics I will not go into, at least not in detail, but I promise to stay on after my speech and be available for Q&As, so then you can ask the questions about all the issues I don’t have time to address in my introduction.

At the Brussels Summit we foresee five main topics: Topic number one is Deterrence and Defence and while the Warsaw Summit was mainly focussed on how to increase presence … military presence in the Eastern part of the Alliance with the battle groups and the tailored forward presence, I believe that the main focus of the Brussels Summit in July will be about how to be able to reinforce because our deterrence and defence is not only dependent on the forces we have deployed, but it also very much depends on our ability to move forces … to reinforce quickly if needed. And therefore we are discussing what we call a readiness initiative to increase the readiness and to identify specific forces that can be available on short notice. We are discussing reinforcements and we are discussing a military mobility, how to move forces across the Atlantic, because NATO is a transatlantic alliance and of course then we have to make absolutely sure that we are able to move the forces across the Atlantic, if needed.

But also across Europe and I expect Heads of State and Government, when they meet in July, to make decisions on reinforcement, readiness and military mobility. I also expect them to reiterate NATO’s strong message on Russia, which is what we call the dual-track approach, which is about deterrence, defence combined with political dialogue, and I strongly believe that we have to understand that Russia is our neighbour, Russia is there to stay, so we need to find this combination of having a strong and firm message and being very clear when they violate international law, international rules, and when they are responsible, for instance, for cyber-attacks and we also have to see the Salisbury use of nerve agent against the background of a more reckless behaviour of Russia. But we have to combine that strong and firm message with an openness for dialogue, partly because we need to continue to strive for a better relationship with Russia, but even if we don’t believe in a better relationship with Russia in the near future, we need to manage our relationship with Russia because Russia is there, we see more military activity, we see more exercises, so at least we need to manage a difficult relationship, because we have to make sure that we don’t have incidents, accidents, miscalculations that can lead into really dangerous situations.

So I believe it’s possible to get the better relationship, but even without that we need to manage a relationship to our biggest neighbour, and a neighbour which has significantly increased its military presence along our borders. So that’s the first issue, that’s deterrence, defence including our relationship with Russia. The second issue is what we call in the tribal language of NATO ‘projecting stability’, and that’s about projecting stability into our neighbourhood because we believe strongly that when our neighbours are more stable we are more secure, and NATO has... we have many neighbours so we speak about many different partnerships and many different ways of projecting stability. Partly it is about fighting terrorism, that’s about our partnerships especially in the south. We strongly believe that the best tool we have in the fight against terrorism is to train local forces. I think that one of the lessons we have learned from Afghanistan, from Iraq, but also from Libya, is that in the long run it is better to train local forces, enable them to stabilise their own countries, instead of NATO deploying a large number of combat troops in big combat operations.

And therefore NATO has to be ready. So we have to be able to deploy forces in big combat operations again, if needed, but of course it’s obvious that it’s better that local forces, national forces stabilise their own country, and that’s the reason why we have completely changed the character of our presence in Afghanistan from a big combat operation with a lot of NATO Allies and partner nations - many of you sitting here today - deploying combat troops in Afghanistan, more than 100,000 troops, many casualties, into what we have now which is a much more downsized presence, around 16,000 troops in that train, assist and advise mission. There are many problems in Afghanistan, but at least we have achieved at least one thing and that is that we have been able to train the Afghans to build local capacity so they are now responsible for security in their own country themselves. So when Taliban attacks, or there are terrorist attacks in Kabul or in other places, then it’s the Afghan forces that move out and repel and respond. And that is a big improvement and therefore we need to continue to train, to help, to support, to fund the Afghan national army security forces, and that’s also what we are aiming at in Iraq. We have NATO and the Coalition to Defeat ISIS where NATO is a member and all NATO Allies and many partners.

We have made enormous progress and ISIS is on the run in Iraq and in Syria. But we have to make sure that ISIS is not coming back and therefore we need to build local capacity, train local forces and that’s the reason why we are working for the heads of state and government in July to launch a training mission in Iraq to scale up our present training activities in Iraq to make sure that ISIS doesn't come back and therefore make sure that we train local forces. That’s also the reason why we work with countries like Tunisia and Jordan. We believe that prevention is better than intervention. Tunisia and Jordan are two islands of stability in a region with a lot of instability and we have to help them now so they remain stable and they can help us and contribute to the fight against terrorism. So that’s projecting stability, but then there are other aspects of our effort to project stability, and that is to project stability to the Western Balkans together with our partners there. Or to countries like Ukraine, Georgia, close partners, and we will continue to provide practical and political support to Ukraine, to Georgia. We will work with our partners in the Western Balkans, and I would like to highlight that NATO’s door remains open; we proved that last year when Montenegro became the 29th member of the Alliance, and we are supporting also other aspirants on the path towards membership and towards Euro Atlantic integration and I’m certain I will get questions about that later on, so I will go more into details during the discussion on the open-door policy.

The third main topic of the summit will be NATO-EU cooperation, and the good news is that we have really stepped up and we have been able to strengthen and establish a total new level of cooperation between NATO and the European Union. That’s good for NATO, it’s good for the European Union and we will continue to work for that also at the summit. In Warsaw in 2016 I signed a joint declaration with the Presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker. We are planning to sign a new declaration in Brussels where we take the NATO-EU cooperation further with the declaration by the President Juncker, President Tusk and me. We have 74 concrete measures we have agreed on related to cooperation when it comes to cyber, hybrid, terrorism. We work together in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean Sea. We work together with the European Union on many different areas and this is something we would like to do more of in the months and years to come. I have also welcomed the efforts of the European Union to strengthen defence cooperation because I strongly believe - as many European leaders have stressed many times - that stronger Europe means stronger NATO. We have to remember that more than 90% of the people living in the European Union, they live in a NATO country, so there’s no way we can strengthen Europe without at the same time strengthening NATO. But what we have to make sure is that the efforts of the European Union do not compete or duplicate but that they complement the NATO efforts. Meaning that we need coherence on development of capabilities. We need EU forces and capabilities available also for NATO missions and operations and we need non-EU NATO Allies fully engaged and as much included as possible in the efforts of the European Union.

The fourth item, or issue, is what we call modernisation, continuing modernisation and adaptation of NATO. We are now as you know in the middle of a big adaptation of the NATO command structure. It was downsized and very much changed after the end of the Cold War. Then we had more than 20,000 personnel in the NATO command structure at 33 different headquarters. Now we have reduced it to less than 7,000 personnel in the command structure at, I think it’s seven headquarters, so it’s a significant reduction. Much leaner than before which reflects the fact that tensions went down and NATO could downsize our command structure. But now we are faced with a more challenging security environment. NATO is stepping up, doing more both when it comes to collective defence in Europe, but also projecting stability, fighting terrorism and therefore we need to adapt the command structure once again and that’s what we are going to do. And also step up, for instance, the capabilities within the command structure to address cyber threats.

I expect the Heads of State and Government to then agree on the new command structure, both the manning level, but also to establish two new commands: a command for the Atlantic which will be the main tool to make sure that we can secure the links between America - North America, US and Canada and Europe, sea lines of communications and all the vital links between Europe and North America which is where the North Atlantic is so important. And the US has offered to host that command in Norfolk, Virginia. And then one new command for what we call support or logistics. Germany has offered to host that one in Europe which will then focus on how to reinforce and have the logistics in place for movement of forces across Europe. There are also other changes in the NATO command structure which are now proposed by strategic commanders and I hope that the Heads of State and Government will be able to make the final decisions at the summit in July. We are also implementing a reform of our headquarters: we are modernising and making sure that NATO is transparent, agile, effective and a well-functioning Alliance.

The fifth and final theme for the summit will be burden-sharing, and that’s about cash capabilities and contributions. Burden-sharing within the Alliance is not only about spending, it is also about contributions to NATO missions and operations and providing the necessary capabilities to the Alliance. Since we are an alliance of 29 nations and we have promised to defend each other, it’s also fair that we have fair burden-sharing, and therefore I welcome the fact that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to burden-sharing, both on contributions, more and more Allies are stepping up with troops to different NATO missions and operations, in Afghanistan, in Iraq but also in forward presence and other missions and operations in the Mediterranean. More and more Allies are delivering on the capability targets we have agreed as part of the NATO planning process, and more and more Allies are also stepping up when it comes to defence spending.

And as you all know, back in Wales in 2014 we agreed the defence investment pledge and the good news is that since then all Allies have stopped the cuts, and that’s actually a big achievement because for many years Allies reduced defence spending. Now all Allies have stopped cutting defence budgets. Second, all Allies have started to increase defence spending in real terms, some increased a lot, others have hardly but at least there’s a plus, and plus is better than minus. And more and more Allies spend 2% of GDP on defence. Poland is one example. Poland spends 2% of GDP on defence. Back in 2014 three Allies spent 2% of GDP on defence. Now this year we expect eight Allies to spend 2% of GDP on defence. And the majority of Allies have put forward plans, national plans, on how to reach the 2% within a decade. So we still have a long way to go, but the reality is we have a very good start. All Allies are increasing. More Allies reached the 2% and the majority of Allies have put forward plans on how to reach the 2% within a decade.

The last thing I will say is that I am aware, as you all are aware of, that we are an alliance of 29 different nations and over the last months we have seen disagreements on important issues. Because we are 29 Allies from both sides of the Atlantic with different history, different geography and sometimes also different political views on serious issues ranging from climate change, the Paris Accord, trade issues, tariffs, to the Iran nuclear deal, and these are serious issues where there are serious disagreements between NATO Allies. Having said that I think we have to recognise that we have seen differences between NATO Allies before, it’s nothing new. Dating all the way back to the Suez Crisis in 1956 when some Allies invaded Egypt and some Allies were heavily against. I wasn’t present there because it was 1956, but I guess the mood was not the best one at the NATO meetings. And back in 1966 when France decided to leave the NATO command structure and NATO had its headquarters in Paris and we had to leave, and again I think it was interesting meetings.

Or in 2003 when some Allies supported the Iraq War and others were heavily against. I'm not saying that these were not serious disagreements on important issues, but what I’m telling you is that it’s nothing new that there are disagreements. The strength of NATO is that we have been able to manage those disagreements without weakening the core responsibility of NATO and that is that we are standing united around our core task: that we defend and protect each other. And just to highlight that is that yes there are different views and of course the best thing would be if we were able to solve those disagreements, be it trade issues, trade tariffs, Iran nuclear deal, whatever, but as long as we’re not able to solve those issues we should at least minimise the negative consequences for NATO. To be honest it’s not for NATO to solve disagreements on climate change or on trade issues, but it is for NATO to make sure that those disagreements don’t weaken NATO, and therefore I am actually inspired by the fact that despite these differences which we all see, we have been able to strengthen the transatlantic bond within NATO.

The US and Canada are now increasing their military presence in Europe. The US has this European deterrence initiative more than tripling the funding for US presence in Europe, with more troops, more exercises, more prepositioned equipment. So yes there are differences between Europe, or at least between European Allies and United States on some issues, but the US is increasing their presence in Europe. Canada is coming back and European Allies are stepping up. So what I’m telling you is that as a former national politician I’m aware that trade, climate, and also the Iran nuclear deal - which is also relevant of course for NATO - are important issues, but I’m inspired by the fact that despite those differences, NATO has been able to adapt, to respond and actually deliver strengthened transatlantic unity with more presence, the new command structure, more defence spending and more contributions to our missions and operations. So NATO is the most successful and the strongest alliance in history for two reasons: reason number one is that we have been able to adapt; reason number two is that we have been able to be united, despite the fact that we are representing 29 different nations. Thank you so much and I’m ready to take your questions.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you Jens, thank you for your excellent speech and now we come to the questions. You will have two minutes, I'm sorry, because we have a lot of questions, we already have 22 requests for the floor, so I think we can take one or two more, but then we have to stop the list. And I follow the usual procedure. I will announce those called to ask questions in groups of three, so that you can be prepared. So, the first three are Mike Turner, Ricardo Tarno and Karl Lamers. So, the floor is to Mike Turner, former President of the Assembly, my predecessor and Head of the US Delegation. Mike, the floor is yours.

QUESTION [Mike Turner - Head of US Delegation]: Thank you, Mr President. Mr Secretary General, thank you for your great address and thank you for your commitment to a strong relationship between NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I know our President will be speaking before your Summit and I appreciate that you can continue to have a strong role for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in NATO and NATO debates.

You gave us a pretty aggressive agenda and your fifth item, burden sharing, I know is going to be a significant topic for you at the Summit, certainly President Trump has made that a big issue. I was hoping that you might be able to help us because, as a body, we have the debate on this issue as to what was the commitment in Wales. As you know, and you

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you, Mike. Now, Ricardo Tarno, the Head of the Spanish Delegation. Ricardo?

QUESTION [Ricardo Tarno - Head of Spanish Delegation]: Thank you, Mr President. I will speak in Spanish. [Interpreted] - The Secretary General has spoken to us about how our countries overcome our differences and problems, but now in Europe essentially there are certain political parties, populist political parties that are non-traditionally gaining weight in our

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: [Vice] President of the Assembly, Head of the German Delegation and Chairman of the Working Group on Education in our Assembly.

QUESTION [Karl Lamers - Head of German Delegation]: Thank you, Mr President. The Secretary General, first of all thank you very much for your great speech and for your very impressive work and dedication to peace and stability worldwide in very turbulent times. I think we all agree to what you say, that NATO and EU must work closer together, strengthen their cooperation in order to defend us and defend our values against external threats. What is your view of PESCO, Permanent Structured Cooperation? Where do you see the most tangible value added to NATO-EU cooperation? Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First to Mike Turner; thank you for your commitment because I know that you have been President of this Assembly, but I also know that what you do in Washington and in the Congress is of great importance for the whole Alliance, so thank you for your commitment and for your strong support to our Alliance in the United States, in addition to being part of this Assembly. Then, burden sharing; well, you can all read the text and the text in the Wales declaration goes approximately like this, "That all Allies agree to stop the cuts, gradually increase defence spending as their economies grow, and then move towards spending 2% of GDP on defence within a decade". There is some more language, but that is the essence of the pledge.

And then of course you can ask ten lawyers to provide a legal interpretation of that document and then you will have I guess ten different interpretations. And then we can pay ten more lawyers even more to provide you with a new interpretation. And that

Then on Ricardo Tarno; yes, there are

I'm not talking on behalf of the European Union, but I saw recently an opinion poll which shows that actually it's increased support for the European Union all over. When it comes to NATO, the opinion poll shows strong support. It varies a bit, but it is strong and it has increased. I think that one of the challenges we have is that we have to explain that it is in the interest of NATO Allies and the people, close to one billion people living in NATO-Allied countries, to have a strong NATO. And a strong NATO is good for Europe and good for the United States and Canada.

Two world wars and a cold war taught us that we are stronger together than alone. And I think we have to remember that we are, for instance in Afghanistan or in Iraq, not only to help the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, but we are there because it is in our interest to fight terrorism in these countries. Because we have seen that if Afghanistan or Iraq or other countries become safe havens for international terrorists, then they will launch attacks against us. So, we are there to protect us and to make our citizens more safe. Because sometimes I think that people in our countries, they believe that we send soldiers to Afghanistan or we spend money training Iraqi officers just to be nice to those countries. No, we are there also because it's in our interest to make sure that these countries are not launching pads or platforms for organising terrorist attacks against ourselves. And it's also a way to address the migrant and refugee crisis. If our neighbours are more stable, there will also be less migrants and refugees being forced to flee their own countries.

Then Karl Lamers; it's great to see you again. You asked me about NATO-EU and PESCO. Well, I'm in favour of PESCO because it has been so clearly stated that the purpose of PESCO is to develop European military capabilities, drones, planes, different military formations and so on. And those capabilities are going to be developed based on that the EU's efforts should be complementary to NATO efforts, meaning that we need to have coherence between EU efforts and NATO efforts. We cannot end up in the situation where the European Union defines the list of capabilities and then NATO has another list and then they are conflicting. That will be impossible for especially those Allies who are members both of the European Union and NATO at the same time. And that those capabilities, if it is a new plane or a new drone or whatever it is, is available, are available to also NATO missions and operations. This is important because we have to understand that even though I welcome stronger European or EU efforts on defence, the European Union can never replace or be an alternative to NATO, for many reasons, partly because of economy, partly because of size. We have to remember that, especially after Brexit 80% of NATO's defence expenditure will come from non-EU Allies and this will mean that most of our military capabilities will come from non-EU Allies. Meaning that non-EU Allies will be essential for the security of also EU countries. It's partly about money, but also partly about geography. I think it's hard to imagine

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. The next three speakers will be Philippe Folliot, Lord Jopling and Mira Kovich. Philippe Folliot, the Head of the French Delegation.

QUESTION [Philippe Folliot - Head of French Delegation]: [Interpreted] Thank you very much, Secretary General, President. First of all, on behalf of the French delegation, I want to tell you how much we appreciated your speech and the commitment, your commitment to the Alliance. And just a few days ago we received in Paris, at our national assembly, and there I think youth 2017 that China, and this is a quote, "China is the country that is the most influence as regards the world supply of these rare

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Lord Jopling, our former Vice President from the United Kingdom. Michael?

QUESTION [Lord Jopling - Former Vice President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: First of all, I'm most grateful to the leader of the British delegation for allowing me to come in. Secretary General, you started your address by talking about the importance of parliamentary oversight and I want to draw your attention to concerns which some of us have at the internal management of NATO. Thanks to the work of the previous assembly, President Hugh Bailey, we now have access to the reports of the International Board of Auditors for NATO and the recent unclassified report gives rise to what I believe are most serious concerns. I quote to you just four of them. First of all, "There is no common internal control network". Second, "Recurrent and persistent weaknesses in the current internal control systems in most entities". Third, "Difficulties in accepting and developing the identification and accounting of tangible and intangible assets, like property, plants and equipment". And finally and perhaps more seriously, "Lack of support and even opposition to both internally and externally to study the financial consolidation and the creation of a chief finance officer". Secretary General, these are devastating criticisms and quite honestly if criticism of this nature had been directed at a publically quoted company, heads would roll. I'm sure in your response you will tell us that you are responding to these reservations, but the real question is how have we got into this situation which is most alarming and should not this not be the sixth topic for the NATO Summit in Brussels?

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. My good friend Mira Kovich from Croatia, he speaks excellent Italian, so

QUESTION [Mira Kovich - Croatia]: Dear Secretary General, weWe I would like to ask you about your evaluation of the prospects for Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the membership action plan. Thank you so much.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First to France; well, we are aware that technology equipment is essential for any military force or defence and therefore one of the issues we have been very strongly focused on over the last years, especially since the Warsaw Summit, is what we call resilience. And that is the importance of having both military, but also civilian infrastructure, equipment, which is strong and which is not vulnerable to potential adversaries. So, part of our focus on resilience is also how to, for instance, work together with industry. And that

Then to Lord Jopling; well, first of all, in one way we don

Second, we have already done a lot to make sure that we have good economic oversight, that we have transparency and that numbers and figures are available. And all nations, all the 29 Allies have access to all the facts and figures and numbers, so one possibility is actually to ask your government to provide you with facts and numbers if you want more details about how we spend and financial management in NATO, because we are transparent to the nations. They are present in Brussels and they can share with you facts and figures, which they get access to in NATO. But of course we can always be better and therefore part of the functional review or the modernisation reform of the headquarters can also address any potential improvements in the way we do financial oversight.

Then the Western Balkans; so, NATO has a history in the Western Balkans, we have a presence in the Western Balkans, we have many members there. The latest member is Montenegro, and we have partners. Bosnia and Herzegovina, well we support the reform efforts, we support the efforts for Bosnia and Herzegovina to move towards membership, but we have clear conditions, we have what we call the Tallinn Conditions, which requires that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be able to register all immovable defence property. This may sound a bit like a bureaucratic requirement, but it's actually about whether the state has full control over the armed forces, which is then reflected by

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. The next three speakers will be Carlos Costa Neves, Ausrine Armonaite, Irakli Beraia. Carlos, the Head of the Portuguese Delegation, please?

QUESTION [Carlos Costa Neves - Head of Portuguese Delegation]: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Secretary General also, for your excellent introduction, but mainly and of course for your

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you, Carlos. I also add my personal question for

QUESTION [Ausrine Armonaite - Lithuania]: Well, thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Dear Secretary General, first of all thank you very much for your speech and for this comprehensive presentation and your efforts making NATO stronger. My question is regarding energy. So, energy is not only a phenomena of economics, but also more and more a case of defence and security. So, first of all, as the control of the resources gets smarter, systems may become vulnerable for cyber-attacks. And second, critical infrastructure may be used to place listening and monitoring technology, used by foreign intelligence. And for instance, these concerns were raised regarding Nord Stream 2 project in the Baltic Sea. So, what is your view regarding these energy security challenges and what NATO could do

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: I'm sorry. Irakli Beraia, the Acting Head of the Georgian Delegation, please?

QUESTION [Irakli Beraia - Acting Head of Georgian Delegation]: Thank you, Mr President. Thank you, Secretary General, for your great address. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your support to Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration process and, as we all well know, NATO has underlined on numerous occasions that Georgia has registered significant progress in demonstrative performance expected from an aspirant nation. With its sizeable contribution to NATO operations, Georgia has proved that it can be a valuable and effective security provider and take the responsibility of collective security. And against this background, what will be the deliverable at the upcoming Brussels Summit with regards to Georgia and what shall the Georgian people expect? Will the next Summit take our country one step closer to our ultimate goal, which is NATO membership? Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much. First to the question

When it comes to what more we can do in the MENA region, so first of all we are doing a lot in the MENA region, we have many partners there, we are working closely with them. Second, I think that we have the potential to do much more, but to be able to do so we need full support from all 29 Allies and to be transparent with you, there are different views within the Alliance among NATO Allies to what extent NATO should do more. So, the first

Then, to Lithuania, energy; well, that

Then on Georgia; well, first of all we will continue to provide support to Georgia. Georgia has all the tools its need to become a member of NATO with the national annual plans, with the NATO-Georgia Commission and, at the same time, membership action plan is an integral part of Georgia's membership process. We haven

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: OK, thank you. The next three will be Leona Alleslev, Ertan Aydin and Andreas Loverdos. Leona Alleslev, the Head of the Canadian Delegation which will host our next session in Halifax. Please, Leona?

QUESTION [Leona Alleslev - Head of Canadian Delegation]: Well, thank you very much for an outstanding presentation. As a parliamentarian, you know how important it is to be able to communicate with our citizens, and our citizens support and advocate for things they understand. In my country, we had a survey that says the 70% of our youth, 70% of our women and 64% of our entire population do not know what NATO is. If they don

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Ertan Aydin from Turkey, please?

QUESTION [Ertan Aydin - Turkey]: First of all, let me thank to your quality of presentation, Mr Secretary General, that deal with serious topics in a comprehensive manner. Thank you. Actually, my question partly ask and partly you have given the question

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. Andreas Loverdos from Greece?

QUESTION [Andreas Loverdos - Greece]: Thank you, Mr President. Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Secretary General for his excellent address. And then I will make a comment on the illegal detention of two Greek soldiers by the Turkish authorities for three months now. On this issue, there are two important statements, declarations or resolutions, coming from the European Parliament and from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The detention, these detention is completely illegal because it violates the human rights and the rule of law. Dear colleagues, actually asked the Greek delegation here, we don

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: First to Leona Alleslev; thank you so much for the work you are doing in Canada because we were together there for not so many weeks ago and I know that you are doing very important work there to make NATO more known. I will try and NATO will try to help you, and all other NATO Allies, as much as possible, to provide information and to provide background and facts and figures about NATO. And we have also plans on how to step up our efforts to do exactly that. We have, as you know, a campaign now called We are NATO, which is a campaign that we are developing in stages, and the aim of that campaign is to reach out to more people and to inform them about NATO. So, we also have an excellent homepage, or webpage, where you can get a lot of access, you can follow me on Twitter, then you get access to excellent statements I make all over the world, and speeches, and you can read them aloud if you want, for your spouses and then you can see how they react. And so, through social media and through the homepage of NATO you can get access to a lot of information. So

But of course, we will try to help you, but you have to help us. Because at the end of the day, national politicians are most

Then Turkey, Mr Aydin; well, my main message is the same as I gave in my speech. Yes, there are serious disagreements and I think it's important not to in any way try to deny that, because everyone sees it. And trade issues, Iran Nuclear Deal and so on, are serious issues. And of course, the best thing would be if we were able to solve those disagreements or those differences, and I think many Allies, many friends of NATO, are working on how to try to solve those issues. But then, as long as they're not solved, we have to make sure that we are able to deliver transatlantic unity and the good thing is that that

Then, on the situation for the Greek soldiers and the relationship between Greece and Turkey; so, Greece and Turkey are two highly-valued Allies and I appreciate very much their contribution, so both Turkey and Greece, to our shared security, to our collective defence and I visited both countries several times. There are some disagreements. I have discussed this both in Athens and in Ankara and I continue to try to support all efforts to solve the disagreements or differences between two highly- valued Allies, Greece and Turkey. And I think if I was more into the details now, I think it would not help to solve those differences. Thank you.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. Next three will be Eva Kaili, Njall Fridbertsson and Bastiaan van Apeldoorn. Eva Kaili, the Head of the Delegation for the European Parliament. Please, Eva.

QUESTION [Eva Kaili - European Parliament Head of Delegation]: Thank you. Dear Secretary General, it was indeed an excellent speech and thank you for your continuous efforts to enhance EU-NATO defence cooperation. Besides the increase of spendings for NATO that we usually address in these meetings, I would like to ask you what are the further steps you believe we need to take to enhance trust to our alliance? Coming from a country that actually fulfils its economic obligations besides the severe economic crisis that we have faced, I believe that building trust is essential between Allies since we face common hybrid threats and we need to exchange sensitive information, it could be crucial not to be able to do that. What actions do you believe we should take to achieve equal respect to international law, but also between us? So, as my colleague mentioned, several months ago in Northern Greece, Macedonia where I'm from, at the EU-Turkey borders, indeed soldiers were arrested and without a fair trial. My father actually is a Turkish citizen, he has a second citizenship, born

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you, Eva. Njall Fridbertsson, the Head of the Delegation from Iceland, who invited me to visit the Reykjavik next week. Thank you for the invitation.

QUESTION [Njall Fridbertsson - Head of Icelandic Delegation]: OK, thank you President and thank you, Mr General Secretary for an excellent speech. I would like to start with we talked about in the education and communication working group this weekend and I want to emphasise what the Head of the Delegation from Canada was talking about, the importance of the people of the countries know what NATO is, just to emphasise on that point. But I would like to address the important issue of gender equality and balance within NATO concerning that matter. The landmark resolution of United Nations Security Council 1325 on women, peace and security, has brought an increased attention on gender equality and the importance of mainstreaming gender in activities and policies related to security and defence. One of the objectives of 1325 Resolution is to promote the fair representation of both men and women in defence institutions and peace processes, where parliaments and governments are key players. Therefore, we must aim at equal representation of both men and women in all our work, also within NATO. Concerning also your excellent speech before, when you were talking about the strength of NATO

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. Bastiaan van Apeldoorn from the Netherlands.

QUESTION [Bastiaan van Apeldoorn - Netherlands]: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Secretary General, we will later this morning discuss the NATO-PA draft resolution in which it is proposed to reiterate support for the prospective NATO membership for Georgia and the aspiration of Ukraine. In this context, I would like to invite you, Mr Secretary General, to reflect upon remarks made by your predecessor, Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. De Hoop Scheffer, in an interview with Dutch media earlier this year, said it was a mistake to promise NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia. The Former Secretary General argued that this unnecessarily radicalised Russia and made it pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. He also added that he had underestimated the Russian reaction in this regard, but that he could understand this reaction. In other words, it was a counterproductive move. Now, I think it is remarkable that the admission of this mistake came from a Former Secretary General of NATO and I wondered to what extent you, Mr Secretary General, agree with your predecessor. And if not, why not? Some people argue that we cannot come back to the words of 2008, but surely also NATO can learn from its mistakes and at least not go on repeating a promise that it should never have made and that will only bring us further down the dangerous path of further escalation and confrontation with Russia standing in the way of necessary dialogue and de-escalation. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First to Eva Kaili; well, what can we do to enhance the trust in the Alliance? I think we can do many things. First, we should be very proud of what NATO is and how NATO has been able to respond and adapt. I am actually quite impressed by the fact that since 2014, we have implemented the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence since the end of the Cold War We are delivering both in the fight against terrorism, we are delivering deterrence and defence in Europe, and we are seeing that more and more Allies are contributing more, both when it comes to defence investments, but also for instance in the fight against terrorism. So, NATO has proven to be very agile and able to adapt to change when the world is changing, so we should be proud of what we have achieved so far. Second, we should

Then I strongly believe that we need to meet and talk when there are differences. Again, I am aware of the differences between two highly-valued NATO Allies, Turkey and Greece. I am confident that Greece and Turkey will be able to discuss and address these differences in the spirit of mutual trust and Allied solidarity, and I welcome the fact that both the Greek Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Turkey have agreed to resolve their differences through dialogue. And as I said, I am also talking with them, when I meet them addressing these issues.

You mentioned migration. Well, migration is an excellent example of why NATO has to work together with NATO Allies, like Greece and Turkey. NATO's presence in the Aegean Sea has been important to make sure to implement the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the handling of the migrant and refugee crisis and the high number of illegal crossings we saw over the Aegean not so many years ago. So, NATO has been important, partly with our presence in the Aegean Sea, but also NATO presence has been a platform for strengthening the dialogue between a non-EU member, but a NATO member, Turkey, and the European Union. So, NATO is important also when it comes to, for instance, managing the migrant and refugee crisis.

Then, Fridbertsson of Iceland; women, peace and security, that

And then the Netherlands, van Apeldoorn; well, I haven

And I say this also because the whole idea that this kind of provocation that the Baltic countries, Poland has joined NATO, no it's not a provocation, it's a decision by sovereign nations through democratic processes that they wanted to become members of NATO. I accept that. But of course, Sweden, Finland, they are also close neighbours of Russia, at least Finland, and Sweden is almost, they have decided not to become members of NATO. I respect that too. But so, I will finish in a moment, but the thing is that whether a country is going to become a member of NATO or not, it's up to that country and the 29 Allies to decide. No-one else has a say. Because we can never, never, never give any other country a kind of veto to decide over other countries. That will be to reintroduce sphere of influence and that

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. That

QUESTION [Franco Panizza - Italy]: I prefer to speak in Italian. [Interpreted] Thank you, President Alli, for your very authoritative commitment. Thank you, Secretary General, for your very clear analysis, but particularly for having outlined positive development prospects for NATO, particularly in terms of efficacy and operational capability. I'd like to come to my question: We said that NATO is a community based on shared common values. The threats which we have to face today from instability on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, which we have talked about, and the terrorist threat, together with the growth of global ambitions of China, particularly in Africa, call on all of us to strengthen the common commitment for security of our citizens. International missions are the highest example of cooperation, coordination and responsibility sharing in NATO and therefore, when we speak of burden sharing, commitments in international missions should be taken into account. These are missions which demonstrate a common commitment, whereas simply increasing expenditure might just mean an improvement of national forces, without necessarily being in line with a common person.. I'd like to ask your opinion on that.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: The Head of the Armenian Delegation.

QUESTION [Koryun Nahapetyan - Head of Armenian Delegation]: Thank you, Honourable President Alli. Your Excellency, Secretary General, today's session has coincided with historical event in my country. Armenia celebrates 100th anniversary of the first republic, a date that symbolises first expression of Armenian sovereignty and became turning point for our nation, for history of our nation and statehood. Please let me turn to my question. Armenia attach high importance to partnership with NATO and has rich experience in peacekeeping in NATO operations. Armenia and European Union comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement initiates participation of my country in European Union-led civilian and military crisis management operations. We know that NATO and European Union closely cooperate in the field of peacekeeping in the Balkans and Afghanistan. In this regard, my question is following: has NATO experience in assisting, preparing associate member states in participating in European Union-led operations? Thank you.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. Iryna Friz, the Head of the Ukrainian Delegation.

QUESTION [Iryna Friz - Head of Ukrainian Delegation]: Thank you. Secretary

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First, to Mr Franco Panizza; I agree that burden sharing is not only about spending, it's also about contributions to NATO missions and operations, and therefore we have highlighted many times that this is about what we call the three Cs, cash spending, capabilities and contributions. But I think what we have seen is that in the long run it is hard to get more out of less, so to be able to provide the necessary contributions we also need more defence spending. So, the way to understand what we agreed in Wales is not that we can choose between either capabilities or contributions or spending, we need to deliver all three of them, so that

Then on Armenia; first of all, I would like to thank Armenia for providing troops and contributions and also for the partnership we have with Armenia and the valuable contributions you are making to NATO missions and operations, for instance in Afghanistan and in Kosovo. Then I would like to congratulate Armenia on a peaceful transition and election of a new Prime Minister and I look forward to working with the new Prime Minister and his administration. Then, I am not

Then it was one more, that was Ukraine; first of all, actually today, later on today, this afternoon, there will be a NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting at Ambassadorial- level in Brussels. So, we of course have close contact with Ukraine, we have a Commission meeting this afternoon, and I am in regular contact with President Poroshenko and also Foreign Minister Klimkin and other Ukrainian officials. And Ukraine is a highly-valued partner of NATO and NATO will continue to provide

Then we are aware of the problems, or the disagreements regarding the language law and I have been talking both with Prime Minister, Viktor Orb

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Thank you. Well, I'm sorry to say that we will not have the chance to give the floor to everybody because we have still a long list. We'll take six more questions. Next three, Richard Benyon, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff and Borys Wrzesnewskyj. Richard, the Head of the UK Delegation?

QUESTION [Richard Benyon - Head of UK Delegation]: Thank you, President. Secretary General, firstly thank you for your robust comments following the Novichok attack in Salisbury. Your robust comments were echoed by a unanimous vote at our standing committee meeting in Vilnius, where every delegation of parliamentarians supporting the response of the British government and called on all our Allies to show a resolute response to Russia in the face of that evil act. 100 years ago saw the formation of the Royal Air Force. This was in response to technological advances that resulted in a new theatre of war. There are similarities today with cyber now the new battlefield. Clearly this demands a new doctrine, backed crucially by structural reforms that address this new threat. Can you assure us that as part of the modernisation programme you

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Alexander Graf Lambsdorff from Germany?

QUESTION [Alexander Graf Lambsdorff - Germany]: Thank you very much, Mr President. Two questions briefly, one the Iraq training mission. How and in which way do you believe the election result will affect the mission? How do you make sure that the relationship to the popular mobilisation forces which have been integrated in the regular Iraqi standing forces will not be beneficiaries of this training mission? Are there provisions taken to this end? And it's, I believe, a very difficult issue considering the relation of the PMF with Iran. Second question, what do you expect to come out of the NATO-Russia Council meeting that I'm very happy you have called? And on a broader level, do you find this a useful format, one versus 29? Sometimes one hears that for the Russian side it's a bit difficult, so I'd like to hear your view on that.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Borys Wrzesnewskyj from Canada, please?

QUESTION [Borys Wrzesnewskyj - Canada]: Thank you. Secretary General, I'd just like to use this opportunity to restate that Canada unequivocally supports Ukraine's and Georgia's North Atlantic integration and I'd like to thank you for acknowledging Canada's increasing role in Europe. Although we find ourselves on the other side of the Atlantic, we understand that NATO's greatest military challenge these days is on its eastern front, a hard military frontline that stretches from the Baltic to the Black Sea. In that context, Canada, as everyone is aware of here, has our mission in Latvia, we're involved in Romania with air defence, and although not a NATO mission per se, since December of 2014, along with our British and American Allies, we've been involved in Operation Unifier, to train Ukrainian soldiers. We've trained over 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers and officers and would you consider encouraging our Allied members to take part in this Operation Unifier, as it's proven to be invaluable on that part of the eastern front?

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First to Richard Benyon and cyber; well, I agree with you that in one way it's comparable with air force because for many years battles were only fought, wars were only fought or conductedThird, we are stepping up our efforts when it comes to protecting our own cyber networks and we are doing more to exchange best practices to learn from each other, not least by using the Centre of Excellence in Tallinn on [inaudible ] national cyber effects and they share them or integrate them into NATO missions and operations. That

Then, Mr Lambsdorff, Iraq training efforts; first, NATO is doing some training in Iraq today, but what we are going to do is to, as you know, to establish a mission which then provides a much better platform, framework, for scaling up training in Iraq. Second, I strongly believe that training is the key because we have to make sure that we're not forced to come back in a combat operation and to be able to combat ISIS once again. So, in one way or another, we have to build some local forces to enable them to keep ISIS or anything similar down and the prevent them from coming back. Third, we are only going to train Iraqi government forces and of course there will be a vetting process and well, of course we will only be there if we are wanted by the Iraqi government, but so far we have not got any indications that the new

Then a new question from Canada; first of all, you are a very strong voice when it comes to Ukraine and Georgia, I know that that they appreciate that very much. Thank you for your contributions to our Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia and being a framework or a lead nation there. And thank you also for what you do in Ukraine. And I think that when I say that NATO provides political and practical support to Ukraine, it's partly what we provide in a NATO framework, but also what NATO Allies provide bilaterally. And to be honest, and it's not that big difference for those who receive the aid, whether it's the NATO Ally Canada, or NATO Allied Canada through NATO framework providing help. The important thing is that we, as a NATO family, provide help to Ukraine. And Canada is really leading by example through all the help you provide. Thank you.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: OK, last four questions. I ask you to be telegraphic because we are running out of time. Anna Fotyga from the European Parliament, Madeleine Moon, Malahat Ibrahimgizi and Christian Tybring-Gjedde. Anna Fotyga, please?

QUESTION [Anna Fotyga - European Parliament]: Thank you, Chair. Secretary General, thank you for this broad overview, in particular for stressing the importance of the transatlantic bond, both with the United States and Canada, that I also find crucial for successful EU-NATO cooperation. Please raise the issue of targeting killings, abductions of both Georgian and Ukrainian citizens while talking to Russia. In close future, I hope that we'll find the format during NATO Summit in Brussels to speak properly to both

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Madeleine Moon?

QUESTION [Madeleine Moon - Deputy Head of UK Delegation]: Thank you, Chairman. Can I personally thank the Secretary General for his personal demonstration of resilience and adaptation in the light of the interference he was experiencing during his presentation. As a parliamentary assembly, we welcome the creation of the strategic direction hub south, to contact, consult and coordinate with partners to find solutions to the challenges, particularly of terrorism, trafficking and unemployment and crime. It would be helpful to have further clarification of its role and tasks and perhaps, if appropriate, suggest adding responsibility for the assessment development and use of NATO space assets and the threats they face. I wonder if you could provide some comments. Thank you.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Mrs Ibrahimgizi from Azerbaijan?

QUESTION [Malahat Ibrahimgizi - Azerbaijan]: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Your Excellency, in your statement you mentioned about main items to be debated at the Brussels Summit. One of the items is projecting stability. In this framework, what can you

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: Christian Tybring-Gjedde from the Head of the Norwegian Delegation?

QUESTION [Christian Tybring-Gjedde - Head of Norwegian Delegation]: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. And thank you to Mr Stoltenberg for an excellent speech. As I said before, we

JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.

First to Anna Fotyga from the European Parliament. You asked me a specific question on Georgia and the NATO training centre. So, I have visited the NATO training centre and it shows that it's an excellent training centre, not so far away from Tbilisi, and I was there when the training centre was inaugurated. And it shows that we are working together. We provide support to Georgia with the training centre, but also Georgia provides a lot of support to NATO missions and operations. So, this goes both ways. It is extremely important that the training centre continues and I urge therefore, when I travel around, NATO Allies and partners to provide trainers and I am grateful for Norway that has played a key role in providing trainers to the centre, but of course we also need other Allies. So, you can go back to your parliaments and ask your governments to make sure that they send some trainers, not only to Afghanistan, we need them there, to Iraq, but also to Georgia and other countries, so we can make sure that we continue the training centre in Georgia.

Then, Madeleine Moon; you asked me about space assets. Well, more and more Allies are developing some space assets, but at the same time it's very important that whatever we do is fully in line with international law and this is also an area where of course not so many Allies are able to operate, but some Allies are working on and addressing the challenges we see in space. And also NATO has some work where we coordinate and address these as a NATO Alliance.

Then on Azerbaijan; well, we

Then to Christian Tybring-Gjedde; well, I have been strongly in favour in the enlargement of NATO and of course, I also strongly believe that the enlargement of NATO and the European Union, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has contributed to stability, to peace and prosperity across Europe. So, it has been a great historic success. The fact that we had leaders that actually showed the courage to formulate open-door policy and then enabling NATO to go from 16 members, as we were in 80

Then you asked me whether there's a limit. Yes, there is a limit in a way because you have to be a European country and therefore, to become a member there is actually three conditions. You need to meet the NATO standards, when it comes to, you know, your institutions, democracy, rule of law and individual liberty. Second, you need to be a European country, and most European countries are now members of NATO, so there are not that many potential more members. And thirdly, the membership has to contribute to transatlantic peace and security. So, there are some aspirant countries, but the number of potential members are in no way as many as there were in the 1990s where we really had a big, big increase that you witnessed when you worked in NATO, because then the Warsaw Pact was dissolved and there were eight members of the Warsaw Pact, seven are now members of NATO and also some of the former republics of the Soviet Union are now also NATO members, and that has been a great success.

Thank you so much. The problem is not the length of the questions, the problem is the length of the answers.

PAOLO ALLI [President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly]: No, you were excellent. Thank you, Mr Secretary Genera. I think this was a great exchange of view, great questions and answers, thank you.