by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper

  • 24 Oct. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 24 Oct. 2019 18:00

(As delivered)

It’s great to have you here and welcome to the NATO Defence ministerial meeting.

We will address a wide range of issues today and tomorrow, including the situation in northeast Syria.

We are all of course concerned about the risk of jeopardising the progress we’ve made in the fight against Da’esh, but we also welcome the progress we have seen in the last days with significant reduction in violence. And we have to build on that to make further progress and make sure that we continue our fight against our joined enemy ISIS.

We’ll also discuss the ongoing NATO mission in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both in Iraq and Afghanistan the NATO mission is about making sure that we continue to fight international terrorism and to make sure that ISIS is not able to come back.

Then, NATO readiness, increased readiness of our forces is high on our agenda.

And of course, as always when we meet, burden-sharing, the importance of European Allies and Canada investing more on defence will also be an important issue for this ministerial meeting.

And we recognised the progress we are making with a hundred billion more from European Allies and Canada but we need to do even better and that’s why we continue to stress burden-sharing.

So welcome.