Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis at the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers session, with Finland and Sweden

  • 29 Nov. 2022 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 29 Nov. 2022 14:26

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
So, welcome. I think we are ready to start. Good afternoon to all of you and welcome to all of you. Welcome to this meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Let me thank, by thanking Romania and you personally present Iohannis for hosting this meeting. This is an important meeting at the very timely place, because we all face so many challenges related to the war in Ukraine. It is an honour for all of us to be here together with you. Today we will discuss Russia's war of aggression and how our support for Ukraine, Russia is recent losses, including its withdrawal from Kherson, demonstrate the incredible courage and bravery of the Ukrainian forces. It also shows that our support makes a difference on the battlefield and must continue. The Russian military retains significant capabilities and a large number of troops. It is willing to use extreme brutality and leave Ukraine cold and dark this winter. So we must stay the course and help Ukraine prevail as a sovereign nation. NATO is not a party to the conflict, but we are committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes and we will continue to do what it takes to defend every inch of NATO allied territory. So let me now invite you Mr. President, dear Klaus, to address the ministers. Please.

Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania
Thank you very much, dear Secretary General, dear Jens. Ministers, generals, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome you in Romania, here in Bucharest. Your presence on the Eastern Flank of NATO, close to the shores of the Black Sea is highly relevant and timely. It conveys a strong message of Allied unity, solidarity and strategic resolve. This also shows that the values of freedom and peace remain at the heart of the Alliance. Since joining NATO, Romania has been a responsible and active Ally devoted to the Alliance's principles. We have been a committed contributor to NATO's missions and operations and an unwavering promoter and provider of security and stability in our region and beyond. Romania is proud to host for the second time, a NATO high level event after the summit in 2008. This is the first foreign ministerial we are hosting and the first NATO meeting hosted by an Ally on the eastern flank after the war against Ukraine started. The agenda of the meeting is addressing the current most pressing and relevant topics for NATO, and for our collective security. Indeed, for the last nine months, the war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine has profoundly affected the European and Euro Atlantic security, bringing immense suffering to the Ukrainian people, impacting economies and causing food and energy crisis worldwide. In response, our Alliance and the Allies took a firm and united stance, we also took historic decisions for consolidating like never before, our deterrence and defence in helping Ukraine defend itself and then supporting our most vulnerable partners to increase their resilience. In this context, I value the fact that the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have also been invited to join one of the sessions of this ministerial, and that Minister Kuleba will also attend the meeting later this evening. I also highlight the fact that this is the first time the Republic of Moldova ever takes part at the NATO ministerial, and we are happy that this premiere happens here in Bucharest. As we prepare for the 2023 summit in Lithuania, over the next period, it is our joint responsibility to fully implement the decisions taken in Madrid as soon as possible, especially those related to the posture on the Eastern Flank, including at the Black Sea. I express on this occasion, Romania's deep gratitude to all Allies who decided to deploy troops on our territory. The Black Sea has a strategic importance for the Euro Atlantic security as already included in the new Strategic Concept. We need to continue to closely monitor the evolutions and ensure an even more strategic approach in the region. At the same time, Romania remains a strong supporter of the open door policy. We are confident that Finland and Sweden, today at the table as invitees, will soon become members. We also believe that NATO's doors should remain open in the future for our partners, including Ukraine and Georgia as decided by the Bucharest summit in 2008, in this very building. In closing, I wish you a very productive meeting. And I'm confident that the ministerial will be an important stepping stone in consolidating further the Euro Atlantic area of security and stability to the benefit of all our citizens. Thank you.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Thank you so much, sir, Mr. President, dear Klaus. So thank you so much for Romania's many contributions to our Alliance, our collected defence, to our shared security. And many thanks Klaus for your personal commitment to our transatlantic Alliance. This ends the public part of the meeting. I thank the media for joining us at the top of the meeting and we will continue in just a moment. So thank you so much.