by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană ahead of the Informal Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Good morning, Guten Morgen.
I am exceptionally pleased to be here in Berlin. I would like to thank Minister Baerbock and our German Allies for hosting this informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers.
We are at a moment of significant changes in European security, and NATO stands strong in support of Ukraine, and in defending the one billion people living in our Allied Nations.
Yesterday evening, we were joined by the Swedish and Finnish Foreign Ministers. We know and we fully respect the democratic processes taking place in these two vibrant democracies, and if they will decide to seek membership, I am confident that Allies will look constructively and positively for their membership into this Alliance. Finland, Sweden are already the closest Partners of NATO. We work with them in many, many ways. As I mentioned, they are vibrant democracies. They have an impeccable rule of law. They have strong militaries, they already contribute to the Euroatlantic security, and also they are very interoperable with the rest of NATO.
Also, today we will be focusing on the latest developments in Ukraine. The brutal invasion of Russia is losing momentum. And with significant support from Allies and partners in billions of dollars, in military support, in financial support, humanitarian support, we know that with the bravery of the Ukrainian people and army and with our help Ukraine can win this war.
We will also focus later today on the Summit that our leaders will have in Madrid at the end of June. As you know, Secretary General Stoltenberg has proposed the Strategic Concept that is now under negotiation. And, of course, our Foreign Ministers today in Berlin, will give further political guidance in order to make sure that we have a robust, forward-leaning document in Madrid, that will indicate again the unity of NATO, the relevance of NATO, and the fact that NATO is adjusting to be future-proof. Again, our deep, deep gratitude to the German hosts and German Allies, and I look forward to continuing our discussion with the Ministers at Thirty.
Question - CNN - (partly inaudible) What is your message to President Putin?
I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest. And this is not something I'm making in a light way. Because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery… Of course the song was beautiful, it is beautiful.
So the message we want to send to Mr. Putin is that they've started the most brutal and cynical war since the Second World War, that probably he would, he was sincerely surprised by the bravery of the Ukrainian people and by the unity of the political West. So I'm saying that we are united. We are strong, will continue to help Ukraine in winning this war.
Question - Deutsche Welle (partly inaudible) How was last night's discussion with Turkey over potential NATO membership for Finland and Sweden?
We had the discussion yesterday, the first round of our Informal Meeting. And like always in NATO, there is a frank and constructive discussion. This is something that we always discuss. Turkey is an important Ally. They expressed concerns that are addressed and discussed in between friends, friends and Allies. And I'm confident that if these two countries will decide in the next few days, I understand, to seek membership in NATO, that will be… able to welcome them and to find all conditions for consensus to be met.
Question - Georgian TV (partly inaudible) What about partners like Georhia at the Madrid Summit?
As I mentioned, NATO will always respect the right of nations in Europe, and around the world, to choose their own path. This is not subject to anyone else’s veto. [It] is the discussion about that country and the organization they want to join. Georgia is the enhanced opportunity partner for us. We've been working with them for years and years. And I also know that the leadership of Georgia will be invited at the NATO Summit.
Open door policy remains sacrosanct for NATO. And I can say that Georgia is a very important partner. The Black Sea is becoming more important. We see the effect of blockade of the Black Sea in an attempt by Russia to suffocate Ukraine's economy, and also to create food insecurity in many other parts of the world. I also know that, not in a military way, the Republic of Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, another very important partner of ours, so Allies, also European Union, we are looking in ways to make sure that these partners are supported by us in these complex moments.
Question - news agency dpa (partly inaudible) What about license exports for Turkey?
We are not commenting on national decision by Allies. These are decisions that are done in a sovereign way. What I can say, the unity of the Alliance, especially in the last few months, over time historically, but over this last few months since the invasion by Russia of Ukraine, has been impeccable. And this is the strength of everything we do. Look at the impeccable coordination between NATO G7, was held yesterday here in Germany, the EU, NATO and the G7. Look at the way in which other partners… look at Ramstein where we have 40+ nations coordinating in supporting Ukraine.
So [inaudible] issues do happen. We are democracies, their sovereign decisions and discussions. We respect that. But I would emphasize again the spirit of unity, and the spirit of common belonging. And NATO is the platform of transatlantic security conversation. And we are very, I am very proud, Secretary General Stoltenberg is very proud of the way in which Allies are united in a common endeavor. Ukraine can win this war.