by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg together with the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda
It is a really great to be back in Poland to meet with you, and as you just said this is the third time we meet this year. And I really appreciate this opportunity to once again address some of the most demanding security challenges we all are faced with.
2019 is the year when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of NATO. But also the year when we celebrate that its 20 years since Poland joined the Alliance.
And over the past two decades, Poland has shown again and again your strong commitment to our transatlantic bond and to our NATO Alliance.
You do that in many different ways by contributing to our shared security and to our collective defence by having Polish troops part of our Enhanced forward Presence in Latvia.
And you are also participating and contributing to NATO’s tailored forward presence in Romania.
And then Polish planes help to keep the skies safe because you are part of the NATO Air Policing over Lithuania.
And then Poland also supports NATO partners in many different ways. You contribute to NATO missions and operations. Polish troops serve in Afghanistan, helping to fight terrorism.
And Poland is also contributing with trainers to our training mission in Iraq. And you are participating in our presence in Kosovo, helping to stabilise that region.
So we are extremely grateful for all the contributions Poland is providing to NATO every day.
At the same time what we have seen over the last two decades is that also NATO is increasing its presence in Poland. We have the battlegroup in Poland – the high readiness battlegroup. We have a new US armoured brigade, rotational presence in Poland. And then we have increased our presence in the Baltic Sea. And Poland is also hosting one of the sites for NATO’s missile defence.
On top of that we also know that we have more exercises proving that we have increased the readiness of our forces so we can quickly reinforce if needed. And all of this is sending a very strong message of unity, of commitment and of resolve of all NATO Allies, and that we stand together. We keep the peace and we protect each other.
I want to thank Poland especially for what we do when it comes to defence spending.
You are leading by example. You allocate 2% of GDP to defence. And you are right that I mentioned that this is important, not least because we see that the GDP of Poland is growing, so you are allocating more money for defence every year.
We also know that in an uncertain world, we need to invest more in defence.
And the Polish investments in defence is also helping to improve burden-sharing within the NATO Alliance.
We just discussed some of the current security challenges we are faced with, including the fact that Russia is violating the INF Treaty.
And the INF Treaty has been a cornerstone for European security for decades.
Now we see that Russia is deploying new missiles, SSC-8 missiles, which are mobile, hard to detect, nuclear-capable, and can reach European cities with little or no warning time. And by doing so, they also reduce the threshold for any potential use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.
So we continue to call on Russia to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty, to respect this cornerstone Treaty for all of us.
But also, we need to be prepared, and we have started the planning, for a world without the INF Treaty and with more Russian missiles.
It is too early to say the outcome of this process in NATO. But what I can say is that our response will be measured, it will coordinated as a NATO Alliance, and we don’t have any intentions of deploying new nuclear missiles, land-based missiles, in Europe.
We also discussed Afghanistan, where our troops have served for many years.
We support the peace efforts. We are there to create the conditions for peace. To send a clear message to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield, but they have to sit down at the negotiating table and reach a political agreement.
For any peace to be sustainable, it will need to be built on the achievements that have been made in recent years, including on human rights and the rights of women.
So Mr. President, it is always a great pleasure to meet with you and it is always a great pleasure to address common security challenges together with you.
And I am honoured and proud to be here together with you and to mark the 20th anniversary of Poland joining the NATO Alliance.
So once again, thank you so much.