Statement to the press
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after meeting with US President Trump
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: This shows that the clear message from President Trump is having a real impact, this is making NATO stronger.
We also discussed the importance of standing together in the fight against international terrorism. All NATO Allies are part of the Global Coalition fighting ISIS, and I congratulate the United States on its actions against ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. This has been a milestone in the fight against international terrorism.
QUESTION: So what about the statement from Macron that NATO is ‘brain dead’? Can you address his concerns and do you agree or disagree?
JENS STOLTENBERG: NATO is strong and NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. For the first time in our history, we have combat-ready troops in the eastern part of the Alliance, in the Baltic countries and Poland. We have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force, we have modernised the command structure and, not least, the European Allies and Canada are now investing more in defence, and buying modern equipment. So the reality is that NATO is actually stronger and more agile than we have been for many, many years.
QUESTION: … [Inaudible].Thank you. You have … [inaudible] NATO. Are you concerned about the future of the Alliance?
JENS STOLTENBERG: Well, I think NATO has proven, again and again, that despite differences we are able to unite around our core task. And that is to protect and defend each other, based on NATO’s main message: one for all and all for one. And I’m absolutely certain that we’ll be able to prove that also now. Any attempt to distance Europe from North America will weaken the transatlantic bond, but also divide Europe, so we have to stand together. That’s the way to keep all our nations and people safe.
QUESTION: Sir, if I could ask about whether you discussed Turkey, specifically its NATO membership with the President just now? And if Turkey were to have Russian fighter jets, would that make its membership incompatible with NATO?
JENS STOLTENBERG: I don’t think … you refer to … first of all, we discussed, of course, the situation in northeast Syria, and there is no secret that there are different views between NATO Allies on that issue. At the same time, we are united and we all agree on the importance of maintaining the achievements we have made in the fight against our common enemy, ISIS. And that we have to support … [inaudible] to find a political solution to the crisis and the violence in northern Syria. And we also all have to recognise that Turkey is the Ally, which has suffered the most terrorist attacks, and hosts 3.6 million refugees from Syria. So, yes, there are different views when it comes to Turkey’s role in northern Syria. But at the same time, Turkey is a valued Ally, and plays an important role in our efforts to fight international terrorism.
When it comes to the S-400, that is an issue which is, of course, creating discussions within the Alliance, and the United States has clearly stated that they think that this is totally incompatible with having F-35s. So therefore, I welcome that there are talks between the United States and Turkey, related to whether they can deliver other systems, including Patriots?
QUESTION: … [Inaudible] response to the fracturing that exists presently within NATO?
JENS STOLTENBERG: It’s nothing new that we have different views in NATO. We have had that for many, many years.
QUESTION: … [Inaudible].
JENS STOLTENBERG: The most important thing is that we are . . . we are actually doing more together, than we’ve done for many, many years. The paradox is that, despite the differences, despite the different views on issues like trade and climate change or the Iran Nuclear Deal, North America and Europe are doing more together than they have done for many, many years. And more US presence in Europe and European Allies are stepping up. And that’s the unity I expect us to demonstrate at the meeting in London in December.