NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday (10 November 2015) welcomed efforts to strengthen defence cooperation among Nordic Allies and partners during talks with Nordic Defence Ministers in Stockholm. “It makes sense to deepen our cooperation further. Not just among Nordic Allies and partners, but also with our Baltic Allies,” the Secretary General said.
He said that the security challenges that NATO faces today, including Russia’s increasing military activity from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and the terrible violence in the Middle East and North Africa not only affect Allies but also Nordic partners like Sweden and Finland. “To respond effectively we all have to adapt,” said Mr. Stoltenberg, adding that NATO had strengthened its defence by doubling the size of the NATO Response Force, increasing air and maritime patrols in the Baltic Sea region and by rotating more troops through central and eastern Europe for exercises. “Our focus is collective defence, but also crisis management and cooperative security,” he said. He said that NATO had strengthened ties with Sweden and Finland to boost situational awareness, increase defence against hybrid warfare, and do more joint training and exercises to strengthen security in the region.
Prior to attending the Nordic defence meeting, the Secretary General met with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem and met with members of the Swedish Parliamentary Committees on Defence and Foreign Affairs. On Monday, Mr. Stoltenberg held talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, and described the country as “one of NATO’s most active partners.” In addition, the Secretary General praised Sweden’s strong commitment to international security, including its participation in NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and thanked Sweden for its contribution to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises.
L. J. De Rothschild