NATO Secretary General visits NATO flagship in Aegean Sea
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited FGS BONN, the German flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), on Thursday (21 April) as the ship continues to conduct reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings in the Aegean Sea.
The Secretary General thanked the crew for their important work and stressed that NATO’s deployment in the Aegean is making a difference in the international efforts to deal with the greatest refugee and migrant crisis facing Europe since World War Two.
Mr. Stoltenberg underscored that NATO ships were deployed to the Aegean within hours, following a joint request by Greece, Turkey and Germany. He noted that they are providing critical information on a daily basis to help Turkey, Greece and the EU’s border agency, Frontex, in cutting the lines of human trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean.
The Secretary General outlined areas where NATO has made important progress since its Aegean deployment began in February. He highlighted that the information collected by NATO ships have enabled Greece, Turkey and Frontex to take more effective action to break the business model of human traffickers. He added that NATO is providing an additional platform for cooperation between Greece, Turkey and the European Union to deal with the refugee and migrant crisis.
During the visit, the Secretary General also met with Rear Admiral Jörg Klein, Commander, SNMG2 to discuss BONN’s current activities. He spoke with SNMG2 staff and Greek and Turkish liaison officers on board the BONN. He also observed the maneuvers of three frigates, TCG GOKOVA, HS SPETSAI and HNLMS VAN AMSTEL, currently operating in the same area as BONN.