NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlines readiness action plan in Bratislava
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed that NATO will continue to stand up for freedom and security in light of the Ukraine crisis. “We already have more planes in the air, more ships at sea and more exercises on the ground … We are also considering the longer-term implications of Russia’s actions for what we do in NATO,” the Secretary General said at the Bratislava Global Security Forum on Thursday (15 May 2014). In a keynote speech, he outlined an Alliance readiness action plan in preparation for the Wales Summit in September.
The Alliance is taking a close look at how it can develop and deploy the right forces for defence and deterrence, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. He said that the Alliance is looking to strengthen the ability of its NATO Response Force and Special Forces to respond quickly to any threat against any member of the Alliance, including where there is little warning. The readiness action plan also includes a review of joint exercises, threat assessments, intelligence-sharing arrangements, early-warning procedures and crisis response planning. “They are all defensive measures. They are in line with our international obligations and in line with a changed security landscape, where more than ever we need to be ready, prepared and flexible,” said the Secretary General.
The Secretary General took part in a working lunch with the four Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group of nations, focusing on the Ukraine crisis and preparations for the Wales Summit. The Visegrad group includes Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He met separately with Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic, Prime Minister Robert Fico, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajcak, as well as President elect Andrej Kiska.
The Secretary General thanked Slovakia for its valuable commitments to the Alliance since joining NATO 10 years ago. He also stressed that the crisis in Ukraine shows that defence matters and that Allies have to invest more in defence to preserve their security. “NATO is based on solidarity: all for one, and one for all. So NATO keeps every Ally safe and every Ally is expected to play its full part in contributing to our shared security,” he said.