Secretary General praises France, discusses NATO summit with President Macron
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday (21 May 2021) to discuss preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit on 14 June.
“France is at the heart of our transatlantic Alliance, with highly skilled troops, cutting-edge capabilities across the whole spectrum of deterrence and defence, and significant defence investment, spending 2% of GDP,” said the Secretary General. Mr Stoltenberg thanked President Macron for France’s contributions to NATO deployments, including troops in the Alliance’s defensive multinational battlegroup in Estonia, and jets as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing, and significant defence investment. He also paid tribute to France’s role in the fight against terrorism, including in the Sahel, and France’s role in strengthening the NATO-EU partnership.
Calling the upcoming NATO Summit a unique opportunity to strengthen the alliance between Europe and North America, the Secretary General underscored the importance of taking substantive and forward-looking decisions. Mr Stoltenberg said that through the NATO 2030 initiative, Allies will reinforce unity, including with more consultations on all issues that affect our security, a reaffirmation of fundamental values, and a strengthened commitment to collective defence. He added that NATO 2030 is also about broadening our approach to security, including with a focus on resilience, technology, and climate change; and upholding the international rules-based order, including by deepening partnerships around the world. “This is an ambitious agenda, because in an age of global competition, we must be ambitious to defend our people, our values, and our interests,” the Secretary General said.
The two leaders also discussed the fight against terrorism in Iraq, the Sahel region, and Afghanistan. Addressing the end of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, the Secretary General said: “As we end our military presence, we are opening a new chapter. NATO’s future support will have three main pillars. First, we plan to provide advice and capacity support to Afghan security institutions, as well as continued financial support to the Afghan security forces. Second, we are planning to provide military education and training outside Afghanistan, focusing on Special Operations Forces. And third, we are planning to fund the provision of services, including support for the functioning of Kabul airport. All this will enable NATO Allies and the broader international community to continue to help the Afghan people and contribute to the peace efforts.”
The two leaders also addressed the situation in Ukraine, with Mr Stoltenberg noting Russia still has more troops in and around Ukraine than before the recent escalation. The Secretary General called for a peaceful resolution, commending France’s role in the Normandy format.