by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels
I look forward to welcoming all the Defence Ministers to the meeting today and tomorrow. They will address a wide range of different issues. Including NATO’s role in Afghanistan and we will discuss how NATO can do more to support the fight against ISIS, Daesh, and international terrorism.
We will also address the situation in Afghanistan. NATO is committed to our training mission there. We strongly believe that that’s the best way for NATO to support the peace process in the efforts to find a political, negotiated solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. And we would welcome any steps that can lead to reduction in violence.
At the same time it is extremely important to convey a clear message to Taliban that they have to show and demonstrate a real will and ability to reduce violence and to engage in credible peace talks.
We will also take stock of the work which is going on at NATO and comes to our response to new Russian missile systems. We have seen the demise of the INF Treaty because of the new Russian SSC-8 missiles. We will not mirror what Russia is doing but we will make sure that NATO maintains credible deterrence and defence also in a world with more Russian missiles and without the INF Treaty.
I’m also looking forward to welcoming Josep Borell, High Representative/Vice President. He has been at NATO meetings before in his capacity as foreign minister but this will be his first meeting with NATO in his new capacity.
We will also meet with our colleagues from Sweden and Finland.