by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the extraordinary meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
I think we are ready to start.
Good afternoon and good morning.
And happy New Year to all of you.
It is good to see you again.
And welcome to this extraordinary meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers.
We will address Russia’s continued military build-up in and around Ukraine,
And the implications for European security.
NATO’s position is clear.
We call on Russia to de-escalate and withdraw its forces and take the path to peace.
We support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
And we stand united to defend and protect all Allies.
At the same time, NATO remains ready for meaningful dialogue with Russia.
To discuss our differences and share transparency in military activities.
And move forward on arms control.
That is why I have convened the NATO-Russia Council on 12 January.
It is a positive signal that Russia is now prepared to come to the table and engage.
At the NATO-Russia Council, but also bilaterally with the United States, and at the OSCE.
This is an opportunity for Russia to demonstrate it is serious about dialogue, diplomacy and its international commitments.