Public opening remarks
by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the doorstep prior to the meetings of NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers
Let me start with a few words on our dinner last night.
We had a substantive discussion on our Open Door policy, and the progress made by the four countries that aspire to join the Alliance.
NATO’s Open Door policy has been an historic success. It has spread peace and cooperation across Europe in a way that is unprecedented. It has been good for the countries that joined our Alliance. And it has been good for the Alliance as a whole.
Our Summit in Wales in September will mark that success and maintain the momentum. And let me be clear: NATO’s door remains open. And no third country has a veto over NATO enlargement.
Each country will continue to be judged on its merits. Each one has work to do, in different areas. And we will give aspirants the support they need to get them through the door.
This is a summit decision but we have agreement in principle that we will develop a substantive package for Georgia that will help it come closer to NATO. We will work out the elements in the coming weeks.
On Montenegro, we will open intensified and focused talks, and we will assess at the latest by the end of 2015 whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance.
Today we will advance in our preparations for the Wales summit.
It takes place at a critical moment for our security. When we face old threats and new, from Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East. So we need to continue to adapt our readiness, and reinvest in our capabilities and our partnerships.
Today we will review the measures we have already taken to strengthen our collective defence. Our commitment to the defence of our allies is unwavering. And all 28 Allies are doing their part.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine led to the suspension of our practical cooperation. And I regret to say that we see no signs that Russia is respecting its international commitments. So today we will review our relations with Russia and decide what to do next.
As we have seen Russia using a new different type of warfare against Ukraine, we will also discuss how we can improve our understanding of ambiguous threats and how we deal with them in the longer term.
At the same time, we will agree on a package of long-term support measures for Ukraine, including the creation of new trust funds.
We will enhance our cooperation with partners that contribute to our operations. And we will work on ways to boost our support for local security forces, so that we can project stability and prevent conflicts.
We will also discuss our future relationship with Afghanistan. And we will take additional steps in planning our new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces from next year.
So we have a very substantial agenda ahead.
Thank you very much.