Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the joint press point with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo

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Minister, thank you for your warm welcome.

We have just had an excellent discussion.

Spain is a staunch member of our Alliance.

Today, Spanish aircraft are policing Allied airspace over the Baltics.

Spanish Patriot batteries are defending our Ally Turkey.

Spain is also hosting missile defence ships at your naval base in Rota.

Later this year, you will host NATO’s biggest exercise in many years, which we expect will include around 25,000 troops.

And you play a major role in building security in Afghanistan.

So you do a lot for our shared security.

And I thank you for that.

Security in Europe is being challenged.

From the east and the south.

To the East, Russia has broken international rules through its aggressive actions against Ukraine.

The ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine seems to be holding, but it remains fragile.

It must be respected.

We have seen the withdrawal of some heavy weapons, but they can be redeploed very fast. It’s vital that this withdrawal is complete and verifiable.

I call on all the parties to ensure freedom of movement and security garantees to the OSCE monitors.

This is vital for the full implementation of the Minsk agreement.

NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia.

But Russia must respect its neighbours and their borders.

To the south, violence is spreading in the Middle East and North Africa.

ISIL poses a direct threat to our security.

And it is inspiring terrorist attacks on our streets.

That is why we must continue to work closely with our partners in the region to keep our southern neighbourhood stable.

NATO stands ready to support Libya with advice on defence institution building.

We are already doing this with Jordan, and assessing a request from Iraq.

By helping our neighbours take better care of their own security; we can project stability without deploying our own forces.

And if our neigbours are more stable, we are more secure.

At the same time, NATO is adapting to the changes we face.

We are more than doubling the size of the NATO Response Force from 13,000 to 30,000.

To deal with threats from the east or the south.

We are also creating a new 5,000-strong quick reaction Spearhead Force.

Next year, Spain will be the first Ally to lead this force.

This is a strong signal of NATO solidarity.

And it shows that Europeans are taking responsibility for their own security.

Because we cannot take our security for granted.

Security is the basis of everything we have: our prosperity, our values, our open societies.

So Minister, I look forward to our continued cooperation.

Source : NATO


Leopold James De Rothschild


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