Doorstep statement

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Talk Conference 2021

  • 19 Nov. 2021 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 19 Nov. 2021 09:31

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

Good morning.

It's great to be back in Berlin and I'm looking forward to take part in this exchange and to discuss important security challenges for the North Atlantic Alliance.

Germany is a highly valued NATO ally.

Germany contributes to NATO in many different ways.

And Germany really helps to strengthen the Transatlantic Alliance.

And we need a strong bond between Europe and North America, not least when we face new and many different security challenges at the same time.

We see the difficult situation along the border between Belarus and Poland. NATO stands in solidarity with our ally, Poland and other Allies affected like Lithuania and Latvia.

We also see a significant military build-up by Russia close to the borders of Ukraine.

And we see an unusual concentration of forces and we call on Russia to be transparent and to prevent an escalation and to help and to reduce the tensions along the borders with Ukraine.

And then of course, we see many other challenges.

We see the rise of China.

We don't regard China as an adversary, but we need to address the security effects of the rise of China.

And then we see more frequent cyber-attacks and many other challenges.

All this makes it even more important that Europe and North America stand together in NATO, and that's what I'm looking forward to discuss here today.

I think I stop there.

Journalist: You mentioned the challenges. How dangerous is the situation on the eastern border, are both sides still talking to each other?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

First of all, I think we need to distinguish between what we see along the borders with Ukraine or Ukraine and Russia and also inside Ukraine, in Crimea, and what we see at the border between Poland and Belarus.

We are monitoring and following the situation closely.

We, NATO Allies, provide support to Ukraine: capacity building, political support.

And, of course, we also… since the illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.

With increased military presence in the Baltic region, Poland.

And Germany is part of that, leading one of the battle groups in the Baltic countries, in Lithuania.

And then we also have air policing and we have increased our presence.

So our message is that we are sending a clear message of solidarity, of the need to make it clear that we respect and all countries should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

We are firm, we are united at the same time we are ready to talk to Russia to reduce tensions and make sure that we prevent any escalation of the situation.

Journalist: What about on the Polish-Belarus border? Have you been asked to assist in any way?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

NATO Allies stand in solidarity with Poland and also with Lithuania and Latvia, two other NATO Allies directly affected by a difficult situation along the borders.

We also sent earlier this fall a team of experts to Lithuania to help them to support them.

We are ready to provide support.

At the same time we also welcome the efforts by Germany to try to find a solution and we have seen some steps in the right direction.

We have also worked with partner countries as Iraq and we welcome the fact that Iraq is now taking back people and has stopped the flights.

So we have still a difficult situation, we are concerned but at the same time we have seen some movements in the right direction and of course we welcome that.

What we see is that the Lukashenka regime is actually using vulnerable people as a tool to put pressure on other countries.

This is cynical and it's inhumane and therefore NATO Allies have condemned this behaviour by the Lukashenko regime in a joint statement.

Journalist: How do you see the next German government?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

It's not for me to comment on domestic issues.

NATO is an alliance of 30 Allies and we have different governments and we have elections and we have changed our governments.

What I can say is that I am absolutely confident that the new German government will be committed to NATO, to the transatlantic bond.

Germany is a key Ally.

You have the biggest economy in Europe, and what Germany does makes a difference.

And Germany contributes to our Alliance in many different ways with a German battlegroup in Lithuania, with air policing and also presence in the Mediterranean, and in many other ways.

So I'm confident that also the new government will continue this strong support for our transatlantic bond.