Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the North Atlantic Council meeting at the level of Defence Ministers

  • 13 Feb. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 13 Feb. 2019 14:28

(as delivered)

So good afternoon. Welcome to you all. It’s a great pleasure to see you all here at the NATO defence ministerial meeting.

And let me start by welcoming defence minister Radmila Shekerinska from the Republic of North Macedonia. It’s a great pleasure to have you here, participation for the first time at the NATO defence ministerial as an invitee.

So welcome so much!

Today, we will discuss the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty – a cornerstone of arms control.

For years, Russia has developed, tested and fielded a new missile system. The SSC-8. Which breaches the treaty.

We have raised our concerns with Russia many times over the last six years.

But those concerns were not heeded. A treaty that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe. That is why the United States has announced that it intends to withdraw from the INF Treaty within six months.

All Allies support this decision. And we will continue to press Russia to return to compliance. The onus is now on Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.

That concludes my public remarks, and I thank the media for joining us at the beginning of the meeting, and we will continue in just a moment.

So thank you so much.