NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Paris to discuss how NATO is adapting to the serious security challenges the Alliance faces both to the east and the south. He thanked France for being “a strong Ally and the heart of a strong NATO.”
Mr Stoltenberg thanked President Francois Hollande for his tireless eforts, together with Germany, to find a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, caused by Russia’s aggressive actions. ”The ceasefire is fragile, but it seems to be holding,” the Secretary General said, stressing that all heavy weapons must be withdrawn in accordance with the Minsk agreements, OSCE monitors must have full access, and that “separatists backed by Russia should not use this pause to prepare a new offensive.”
Mr Stoltenberg condemned the murder of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, stating: ”He was a strong voice for democracy and we call for an impartial investigation into this terrible crime.”
In response to the changed security situation in Europe, NATO is reinforcing collective security. Mr Stoltenberg thanked France for its leading role in the assurance measures in the Eastern part of the Alliance and in launching NATO’s new Spearhead Force. The Secretary General also stressed that France’s fight against ISIL and in the Sahel contribute to the security of NATO Allies.
The Secretary General and the French president also discussed the importance of strengthening NATO’s unique partnership with the European Union and the reinforcement of Europe’s defence industrial base.
The Secretary General also met the Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, the Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Chief of Defence General Pierre de Villiers. He also met the President of the Senate Gerard Larcher together with French members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Leopold James De Rothschild
OSCE NATO Section