Keynote address: by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 6

Keynote address

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 60th Plenary Session
of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in The Hague (including Q&A
session)

24 Nov. 2014
|
Last updated: 26 Nov. 2014 16:32

Mr. President,

Distinguished members of parliament,g

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for that very kind welcome. It is a pleasure to be here at
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. For more than 20 years, I was elected
to serve my constituents as a proud member of the Norwegian Parliament
until I became Secretary General of NATO.

That experience taught me the true value of Parliaments. To hold
governments to account. Ensure that tax payers’ money is well spent.
And that the views of the people are heard.

This is my first opportunity to speak with you. But it will not be my
last. I intend to meet with you regularly. To consult with you and
seek your ideas. This is important to me.

Today, NATO needs your support more than ever.

We are working hard to turn the decisions we took at the Wales Summit
into reality.

On my first day in office, I outlined my three priorities.

To keep NATO strong as a political and a military Alliance.

To work with our partners to bring more stability to our neighbourhood.

And to keep the bond between Europe and North America rock-solid.

Each of these priorities requires financial resources, underpinned by
political will.

But without them, there can be no security. And without security there
can be little else. No safety. No prosperity. No freedom.

The link you provide to our parliaments and our citizens is vital for
NATO. This is why today I would like to discuss with you core issue:
keeping the defence pledge that we made at the Wales Summit.

With the end of the Cold War, the world changed. And defence budgets
were cut. As people – rightly – demanded a peace dividend. With no
imminent territorial threat, this made sense. Later, with the
financial crisis, the cuts became even deeper.

We have gone from standing armies to smaller, deployable forces. From
a NATO command structure of 22,000 to less than 9,000. And from over
33,000 tanks, to less than 7,000.

We have also postponed new investments. Reduced our exercises. And cut
back on the maintenance of equipment.

I’m not arguing that we need to return to where we were. And have
exactly the same forces, capabilities and structures.

But once more, our world has changed.

To our East, Russia is trying to replace the rule of law with the rule of force.

To our South, we also see the terrible human cost of conflict. We see
violence and extremism across North Africa and the Middle East. And we
continue to face many other challenges – from missile proliferation to
cyber attacks.

We must face up to these changes. We must have more and better
equipped armed forces. We must have the right balance of forces and
capabilities.

Let me be clear. This is not just an exercise in accountancy. The
stakes are high. The threats are real.

So we must redouble our efforts to resource our Alliance.

The Readiness Action Plan we adopted at the Wales Summit is the most
significant strengthening of our collective defence. It will help us
deal with threats from wherever they come.

>From the east or the south.

So it is vital that we implement the plan on time and in full.

A key part of it is the new ‘Spearhead Force’. A very high readiness
force able to react quickly. With a command and control presence in
the Eastern part of our Alliance. And a demanding new exercise
programme. So we can have the right forces, in the right place, at the
right time.

At Wales, we also decided to launch a new mission in Afghanistan. To
train, advise and assist the Afghan Security Forces from January.

And we also decided to increase our support for our partners, such as
Iraq, to build their own defence capacity if they request it. And
project stability in our neighbourhood.

All these efforts must be properly resourced.

And our military needs long term investment and political support. For
readiness comes at a cost.

If we look around the world, while NATO has cut defence spending,
others have rapidly increased it. Over the last 5 years, Russia
increased its spending by fifty percent. And it plans further
increases.

At the same time, total NATO defence spending fell by twenty percent.
And some nations are cutting further.

In more peaceful times, it was right to reduce defence spending. But
we do not live in peaceful times. So it is right to stop the cuts and
to increase investment in our defence.

This is not just about NATO in comparison to the rest of the world. It
is also about the balance within NATO. And within Europe.

All Allies are expected to shoulder their fair share of the burden. In
terms of spending, in terms of capabilities, and in terms of
contributing to our operations.

The GDP of the United States and that of Europe is almost exactly the
same. Yet the United States spends more than twice as much on defence
than all the other Allies combined. Providing over two thirds of total
defence spending by NATO Allies.

For all these reasons, at our Wales Summit, we agreed to invest in our
collective defence. And to have a more balanced sharing of costs and
responsibilities. We made a joint pledge:

To stop the cuts

To increase spending in real terms as our economies improve

To aim to spend 2% of GDP on defence within a decade

To spend better

And to deliver the capabilities we need.

We also agreed that progress will be reviewed annually. We will start
at the meeting of defence ministers in June. And we will also place it
on the agenda of future summits.

By the Warsaw Summit in 2016, we must show progress. And a way forward
to further improvement in the years ahead. So we need to make the best
of the time we have.

I know that increasing defence spending is not easy. But it is
possible. Step by step. And every step counts. Starting now.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Greece and Estonia are already
meeting the 2 % guideline. And other Allies have outlined their own
roadmap to get there.

Of course, this is not just about how much money we spend on defence.
It’s also about what we spend that money on. And how we spend it.

At Wales, we committed to spending 20% of defence budgets on new
equipment, including research and development, within a decade.

We have identified specific areas where we need to improve our
capabilities. Such as ballistic missile defence, training and
exercises, and fully equipping our land forces.

We must make progress in all of these areas. To ensure that our forces
remain strong and able to deploy at short notice.

NATO can really add value when it comes to how defence budgets are
spent By helping Allies to align their priorities, to plan together,
pool their resources, and get the most for tax-payers money.

There are many examples of how we’re doing just this.

For example, the new system of drones and other capabilities that make
up the Alliance Ground Surveillance system. Operated and maintained by
NATO. Giving our commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation
on the ground.

Or the Framework Nations Concept agreed at Wales. Where groups of
European Allies work together to develop particular forces or
capabilities, guided by a lead nation.

And here in the Netherlands, we are in a country that is a prime
example of regional cooperation. Dutch armed forces cooperate closely
with their counterparts in Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany and the United
Kingdom. Naval forces combine with Belgian naval forces under a single
Admiral.

Allies gain a great deal from Smart Defence and other types of
multinational cooperation. Getting the most out of every dollar, euro
and pound.

But this is not a substitute for more resources. We cannot do more
with less indefinitely. And defence cannot take an excessive share of
the austerity burden.

We must be clear with our publics about why we need to increase
defence investment. And we must continue our efforts towards greater
transparency.

When it comes to NATO’s own budget, Allies maintain full control over
how much and how effectively tax-payers’ money is spent in the
interest of our shared security. The budget is rigorously audited by
an independent team of auditors. And this independent board regularly
reports to the North Atlantic Council.

Allies review all reports. And all unclassified reports are now
published on the NATO website. I also intend to continue publishing an
annual report on everything that NATO does, including defence
spending.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The time has come to stop defence cuts. We must invest more in defence
and spend our money better. And you, the parliamentarians, play a
vital role in fulfilling the defence pledge we made at the Wales
Summit.

This is first time that heads of state and government have made such a
pledge. And it is a pledge that we must honour.

Defence investment in times of austerity calls for hard choices at
home. In every government. And in every parliament.

It is my responsibility to work with you to implement what was
decided. And I am personally committed to this.

We all need to work hard. And we will all be judged on the progress we make.

So I need you to make the case at home. To speak up for defence. To
increase the momentum for more defence spending. To reach out across
the political spectrum. And to persuade your constituents of the value
of defence investment.

If we fulfil the Defence Pledge that we made at Wales, we will keep
ourselves safe. And, working with others, we will help to keep peace
around the world.

So we have much to do together. And I thank you for your support.

Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY (President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly): Thank you,
Mister Secretary General for a great speech. You rightly say that the
way that the world will look at NATO’s decisions from the Summit will
depend upon how they implement it. And I’d… We, as parliamentarians
meeting you regularly at our session, we’ll be able to take the
messages you give us back to our national parliamentarians with
colleagues.

Now, I said I would invite questions in groups of three. I’ll
preannounce each group so you could be ready.

The first group of three, questions will come from Beatrice Rodriguez
Salmones of Spain, followed by Mike Turner from United States and
Jacques Gauthier from France.

And the second group will come from Paolo Ali of Italy, Oias Kolnis(?)
from Latvia, and Oevin Paleraka(?) from Norway.

So I invite first of all Beatrice Rodriguez Salmones in the red
jacket, Mister the Secretary General, to ask the first question. You
have a two minute limit. Beatrice.

Q: I will switch to Spanish if you don’t mind. (SPEAKS IN SPANISH)

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you very much Beatrice. I now turn to Congressman
Mike Turner from United States.

Q: Thank you Mister President. Secretary General, thank you for being
here. And thank you for your offer of a dialogue with the NATO
Parliamentary Assembly. It’s incredibly important that you be here.
And we certainly appreciate your willingness to both keep us informed;
but also to listen to NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Thank you for your
strong words concerning defence spending. The challenges that we face
certainly are ones that go right to the issue of our reinvestment in
our military capabilities. And the United States’ delegation certainly
appreciates your recognition of the gap that needs to be filled and
the encouragement to our European Allies to increase their spending.

I have two parts. The first is with respect to enlargement. I wanted
to express our support from the United States’ delegation of the Wales
Summit Statement concerning enlargement. The House of Representatives
had passed a sense of Congress calling on NATO to be very strong on
its positioning in the Wales Summit with respect to membership from
Montenegro; full core press diplomatic resolution to the naming of
Macedonia; working with Bosnia on the constitutional issues that are
impediment to its membership; supporting MAP for Georgia; and of
course support for Ukraine.

And my question goes to the issue of Ukraine. Many people asked
whether or not the new relationship with Russia represents a Cold War.
It is clear in the Ukraine it is a Hot War.

Poroshenko came before the United States Congress and addressed the
Joint Session. He said two things that were incredibly important. One,
he said: “In the Ukraine, you don’t have to build a democracy, you
merely have to defend it.” And the second thing he said was: “We
cannot win the war with just blankets. I’d love your thoughts on how
NATO could be more forward-leaning in its both military support and
its full support for the Ukraine. Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thirdly, I’d like to invite Jacques Gauthier from France.

Q: I would ask my question in French. Monsieur le Président, Monsieur
le Secrétaire général, Mes chers collègues, permettez-moi, à mon tour
de remercier nos h√ɬītes pour leur accueil et la parfaite organisation
de cette session.

Je souhaite également faire part aux Pays-Bas de notre solidarité et
de toute notre amitié à la suite du drame du vol MH-17. Monsieur le
Secr√ɬ©taire g√ɬ©n√ɬ©ral, je tiens tout d’abord √ɬ† vous f√ɬ©liciter pour votre
nomination. Nous vous apportons tous nos encouragements. Je crois
qu’ils sont particuli√ɬ®rement importants dans cette p√ɬ©riode incertaine.

Incertaine, nous l’avons vu avec des agissements de la Russie en
Ukraine et dans d’autres pays de la r√ɬ©gion comme la G√ɬ©orgie ou la
République de Moldova. Nous le voyons aussi avec les menaces que font
peser sur notre sécurité des groupes terroristes particulièrement
violents, voire barbares dans notre voisinage immédiat.

Le pr√ɬ©tendu √É‚Äįtat islamique en Iraq et au Levant n’est bien s√ɬĽr pas un
√É‚Äįtat; mais il constitue plus qu’un simple groupuscule. Il occupe un
territoire important et mène des attaques coordonnées.

La France s’est mobilis√ɬ©e en mati√ɬ®res rapides et d√ɬ©cisives pour
stopper les groupes terroristes qui allaient conquérir le Mali. Et
nous participons activement à la Coalition internationale qui
intervient en Irak.

Mais nous voyons aujourd’hui que DAESH tend √ɬ† f√ɬ©d√ɬ©rer ou au moins √ɬ†
rallier à son drapeau un certain nombre de groupes jusque-là
éparpillés au Sahel ou encore au Nigéria.

En outre, DAESH exerce un pouvoir d’attirance incroyable pour un
certain nombre de jeunes qui quittent nos pays pour aller faire le
Jihad et sont susceptibles de revenir commettre des attentats
contre…. sur nos territoires.

Quelle coop√ɬ©ration les Alli√ɬ©s peuvent-ils mettre en place? L’OTAN
peut-il jouer un r√ɬīle en la mati√ɬ®re de coordination et de
surveillance? Je vous remercie.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you. Mister Secretary General.

JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): Thank you so much for the
questions. First to the question related to North Africa. I would very
much like to underline that what is happening in North Africa is
actually a reminder of the changing security environment we are facing
with the instability, insecurity coming closer to our borders. And
therefore, what NATO does is to work together with our partners.
Because, I think we have to admit that it is extremely important to
try to avoid that we are coming in situations as we have seen
developing some countries in North Africa, in particular in Libya. And
we have to try to stabilize to help countries being able to take care
of their own security by themselves.

And therefore, to build capacity to help them improving their own
security, their own forces, is something we can do to try to project
stability into North Africa. And part of the partnership cooperation
which was an important part of the Wales decision is aiming exactly at
that.

When it comes to Libya in particular, I think it reminds us that of
course. What NATO did was to conduct a military operation which was
successful related to the goals of that operation. And that was to
stop the killing of civilians. And it had that clear UN mandate.

But after the military operation ended, the international society
should have been more prepared to take care of the work to try to
create a stable democratic Libya and to make sure that we were able to
develop a more peaceful situation in the country.

That’s something NATO is not, what I say, solely responsible for. That
is other organizations: UN, the European Union, the African Union. And
we have to work together with them in North Africa to try to create
stability and to manage threats and the challenges we are seeing in
North Africa.

Then when it comes to Ukraine, the question from Mark Turner… So
what NATO is doing is that we are, first of all, of course, fully
supporting the independence, the sovereignty and the territorial
integrity of Ukraine.

And we are calling on Russia to stop violating international law and
to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. And we are calling on Russia to
pull back its forces from Eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk
agreements; and to stop fuelling the conflict by supporting the
separatists and use all of its influence on the separatists to make
sure they are respecting the ceasefire.

We’ve also established several trust funds to which NATO and Allied
countries are helping Ukraine in developing their defence sector,
improving their own capability to take care of their own security by
themselves.

And in addition to what NATO does, of course different Allies are
contributing in different ways to support Ukraine.

Then to the question related to ISIL… of course we, as NATO and all
NATO Allies are condemning the horrific atrocities and the use of
violence which ISIL is responsible for.

And I welcome the actions and the airstrikes by the Coalition to stop
the actions by ISIL. And I also welcome what France is doing in Mali
to fight terrorists there. Because there are many different NATO
Allies which are contributing in different ways both in Iraq, Syria to
fight ISIL; but also in Mali and North Africa to fight extremist
groups and terrorists there.

There has been no call for a NATO military role in North Africa. But
we welcome the efforts by France and others to fight terrorist groups
in North Africa. And as I said in my first answer, we’re also trying
to build partnerships with several countries in North Africa to try to
develop stability and to project stability into the region.

HUGH BAYLEY: Before I call the next group, I would like to announce
the people in the third group, there will be Dr Karl A. Lamers of
Germany; Ali Reisa al-Boyin(?) from Turkey and Ross Islav Pavalenko(?)
from Ukraine. But to go now to the second group… first speaker in
the second group is Paolo Ali. Mister Paolo Ali of Italy.

Q: Thank you Mister President, I will address my question in Italian.
(SPEAKS IN ITALIAN)

HUGH BAYLEY: There’s too Oias Kolnis from Latvia.

Q: Thank Mister President. The establishment of a NATO Excellent
Centre for Strategic Communications in Riga, Latvia, gives our country
a powerful new tool to combat information warfare on the world. And I
stress around the world because it’s not just Russia’s propaganda war
concerning Ukraine. But it’s also international terrorist
organizations like ISIL or al-Qaeda who have become masters of
manipulating the social media.

I recently had a talk with High Representative Federica Mogherini who
agreed that combatting information warfare in strategic communications
may be an ideal opportunity for NATO-EU cooperation. And I just wanted
to hear your views about that, thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thirdly, Oevin Paleraka(?) from Norway. Thank you
President. Mister Secretary General, first of all, I will like to
congratulate you for an effective start on your important work to
further strengthen our Alliance.

Collective defence in NATO is now higher on agenda following the
Russian aggression in Ukraine. In Norway, we have, as you know, a
history of good cooperation with Russia. But we also noticed increased
Russian military activity in the High North in the recent year.

In light of the Russia military build-up, I would like to ask you how
NATO can contribute to continued stability in the High North area in
the coming years. Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much. First to the question from Paolo
Ali related to the overall strategy when it comes to threats and
instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Overall, responsibility of NATO is to protect and defend all Allies
against any threat. So therefore our main focus is always the defence
and the protection of Allied members.

And that’s also the reason why we have deployed Patriot missiles in
Turkey to augment, to increase their air defence capacity. And that’s
the reason why we have also decided to increase, for instance, the
sharing of the information on foreign fighters and returning foreign
fighters; because that can pose a threat to our nations.

At the same time, I think we have to understand that even though NATO
is very often at least part of the problem… part of the answer to
many problems, NATO is not always the only answer to all problems.

And for instance in Syria and Iraq, there has been no call for a NATO
organized military operational mission. But all NATO allies are in one
way or another part of the coalition which is fighting ISIL in Iraq
and Syria, some are part of the decisive military actions, the air
strikes. Others are supporting the Peshmerga. And others are providing
humanitarian aid. So the bulk of the resources in the coalition is
provided by NATO Allies, even if NATO as such is not organizing the
operations.

So we are… we are approached in these in many ways, partly as an
Alliance and partly as Allied countries participating, for instance,
in the coalition we have in fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

Then also about Ukraine and if there is any possibility or need or a
wish for a diplomatic solution… In the long run, we need a political
solution to all conflicts. And what we are calling for in Ukraine is
that the two Minsk protocols are being respected; and that the
ceasefire is being respected. And we call for Russia and the
separatists to be part of a negotiated peaceful solution and not
continue a path towards isolation which is only fuelling the armed
conflicts and fighting in the region.

Then, to Mister Kolnis(?) from Latvia, questions about strategic
communication. I just visited Latvia and I’m very impressed by the
knowledge, by the understanding of the importance of strategic
communication. And that’s part of the new security environment. That’s
part of the threat posed by hybrid warfare. And therefore
communication is also important. And to avoid all kinds of
cyber-attacks then so… And I very much welcome that we can look into
how we can cooperate with the European Union on this. Because I met
with the High Representative Federica Mogherini just two days after
she took office. And we very much agreed that we should continue and
expand our cooperation. And of course of one of those areas will be
strategic communication which is just becoming more and more
important.

And then to the High North, I think that… what I think the lesson
learned from the High North is that there is no contradiction between
military strength, a strong Alliance investing in defence and at the
same time striving for dialogue partnership and cooperation.

Actually, at least in the Norwegian experience is that investing in
our armed forces when I was prime minister then and also in previous
governments and being part of a strong NATO Alliance was the
precondition for engaging with Russia.

Strength (firm predictable policies) creates the foundation for
engaging with Russia. And therefore we need to continue both as an
Alliance; but also Norway as an Allied country to invest in defence;
to keep up collective defence. And that creates the basis for engaging
with Russia on issues which are of importance in the High North like
energy, environment, search & rescue and all the areas where I know
that there is a lot of cooperation in the High North between NATO
Allies and Russia.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you Secretary General. Because I call the third
group, I’d like to put the fourth group on notice Teddo Jafarizer(?)
from Georgia; Soames Campbell from the UK; and Gerald Gallant from
Canada. But to return to our third group, I’d like to introduce my
predecessor as President of the Assembly, Dr Karl A. Lamers of
Germany.

Q: Thank you, Mister President, Secretary General, first of all,
congratulations and good luck and success for your work as Secretary
General for peace and freedom.

NATO is facing many challenges. Let me turn to Russia. Russia for a
long time was a strategic partner for NATO and a partner for
modernization. And now we see a break of international law. We see
disregard of the sovereignty of independent countries. And I think
Russia is aiming at this time to rebuild its sphere of influence in
the post-Soviet area at the cost of its neighbours and especially
those which have Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Secretary General, we, I think as NATO has a two-trigger approach.
First of all a very clear answer with the NATO Summit in Wales with
its Very High Readiness Taskforce and with our policy to remain the
door open.

Do you think, that is my question, that NATO in this time is unified
and firm enough to give an appropriate answer to Russia; and to Putin
that he will understand our signal? And secondly, do you think that he
is open for dialogue? Does he listen to that what we say? And do you
think that we both NATO and NATO Parliamentary Assembly can do more in
our cooperation to enhance peace and security. Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you Karl. And I’ll turn to Ali Reisa al-Boyin(?) from Turkey.

Q: Thank you very much Mister President. So I would like to
congratulate Secretary General’s new job. I’m sure he will be very
successful. So he made one of the first visit to Turkey. So one of the
main problems in the Middle East is Syria. You know, last three and
half years we have been facing one of the biggest problem. And more
than 250,000 people have been killed, almost around nine people either
refugee or IBP.

And Turkey is almost hosting two million people… two million
refugees from Syria. Last month alone, when the ISIL attacked Kobani,
in two days, we received one thousand fif…. one hundred fifty
thousand refugees from the Kobani Kurdish region of Syria. So we spend
almost four billion dollar. It is going to create another social
problem in Turkey… Turkey’s political life and social life.

So Turkey demands a no-fly zone especially to keep the people in a
proper and a safety zone. So what do you think about this. This is the
first one.

Second question is regarding the territorial integrity of Caucasus. In
the Wales Summit Declaration, Article 30 says that “Allies also remain
committed in the support to territorial integrity, independence and
the sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Republic of
Moldova.” But Russia has already separated Abkhasia and South Ossetia
from Georgia. And Russia did the same thing: Crimea in Ukraine. So
what do think generally in this subject? Thank you very much.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thirdly, in this group, Mister Rustislav Pavalenko(?)
from Ukraine. Well, I think, Mister Secretary General, he’s right at
the back of the hall on left hand side.

Q: Thank you Mister President. Mister Secretary General, after Russia
Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Russia demands guarantees that
Ukraine will never be a NATO member, NATO representatives have
expressed their surprise and reassured the choice of Ukrainian people.
And we appreciate this very much.

Yet, we see some of the politicians from key countries cited that they
would not see Ukrainian membership even in future. When Ukraine is
ready? And as we know that successive summits of the NATO have
stressed that the door is open. So provided that Ukraine is in NATO,
if Ukraine is ready for the NATO, which would be the Alliance approach
to this membership. Thank you very much.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you, first to Karl Lamers. No, you are right.
What we did in Wales was to decide both to invest in our collective
defence; to increase our military capabilities; to follow up the
defence pledge and to implement the Readiness Action Plan which,
altogether is as I said “the strongest increase in our collective
defence since the end of the Cold War”.

But at the same time, we stated once again that we aspire for a more
constructive and cooperative relationship with Russia. And as I
mentioned in my answer to… related to the High North, there is no
contradiction between these two messages.

Because I’m sure that a precondition for NATO being able to, at some
stage, reestablishing a more cooperative and constructive relationship
with Russia that depends on our ability to deliver collective defence,
be strong in our engagement with Russia.

NATO is going to be there; Russia is going to be there. Russia is
NATO’s biggest neighbour. So in one way or another, we’re going to
relate. And even during the Cold War we have areas where we worked
together and where we develop different kinds of cooperation. And for
instance, now, when you have a big military build-up we have more snap
exercises. We have more military presence along NATO borders. We have
the air… the increased military air activity by Russia along NATO
borders. And we also have more NATO presence in the Eastern part of
the Alliance as an answer to that.

The need for avoiding that situations are coming out of control…
that (SILENCE) accidents are spiraling into something we all will
avoid. It increases the need for transparency, predictability for
instance related to different violations were bigger when the
situation is bad as it is now; than when the situation is better as it
was for some years ago. So that’s just one area where I would like to
have what I should say more transparency, more predictability related
to exercises, military presence along the borders.

Whether Russia is willing… it’s not possible for me to give you an
exact answer. What I see is what are the Russians actions on the
ground.

And so far they have acted in a way which has… which undermines the
possibilities and the conditions for a constructive relationship. And
I regret that; because I’m really convinced that in the long run it’s
both in the interest of NATO; but also in the interest of Russia to
have a relationship based on trust on respect for international law
and open trade close cooperation.

Then, when it comes to the question from our Turkish MP… Member of
Parliament, I will just say that I very much commend Turkey for the
way you are hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees coming from
Syria and Iraq. There is no NATO Ally more affected by the crisis in
Syria and Iraq than Turkey. And I visited Ankara a few weeks. And I
was very much reminded on the heavy burden Turkey shouldering by
hosting so many hundred thousands of refugees.

Again, NATO’s main responsibility is to protect and defend all Allies.
And that’s the reason why we are… And that’s of course, also valid
for Turkey. And that is the reason why we have deployed the Patriot
batteries in Turkey. And even though NATO is not organizing or in
charge of the military operations in Syria and Iraq all NATO Allies
are in one way or other participating in the coalition fighting ISIL.

When it comes to no-fly zone, I think since NATO is not organizing or
responsible for the military actions, I think I… it’s wise of me to
leave that to the dialogue between Turkey and the Coalition. And I
know that there is close dialogue between the Coalition, the United
States and Turkey to have to expand their cooperation on fighting
ISIL. On the table, there’s also the question of a no-fly zone. But
that’s not for me to give any advice on that.

When it comes to Ukraine, and the open-door policy, so first of all,
the open-door policy has been a great success. I mean doing the last
two decades, NATO has been enlarged and NATO now protects almost one
billion people. And it has contributed to more democracy, more
stability, more freedom, prosperity in a new members or new Allies in
NATO. The enlargement has been a great success.

The open-door is still open. And it’s something that we decided. And I
remember I was at the Summit in Bucharest where we decided that
Ukraine will become member. And that decision still stands of course
providing that Ukraine fulfils the criteria for membership; and
providing that Ukraine has the will.

Ukraine has decided to have a non-bloc policy. And therefore, the
question of Ukrainian membership has not been on the table the last
years because Ukraine has decided not to apply for membership.

I respect that; because it’s up to each sovereign nation to decide
itself what kind of security arrangements it would like to be part of.
And therefore I respect the decisions of Ukraine. But our policy is
the same. The door is open. And it’s open for countries which fulfil
the criteria for becoming a NATO Ally. And that’s also valid for
Ukraine.

HUGH BAYLEY: And now before introducing the fourth group, I’d like to
put the fifth group on notice: Mrs. Marianne Mytho(?) from Estonia
followed by Harry Van Bomell(?) from the Netherlands; and Corianne
Nahapetian(?) from Armenia. But first the fourth group.

First of the fourth group is Mr. Teido Jaffariza from Georgia who is
more in less in this direction.

Q: Thank you, Secretary General. Thank you very much at the outset on
behalf of Georgian delegation, I’d like to thank you, President Bayley
for this excellent job. And we really appreciate it very much.

Thank you very much, Mister Secretary General for your support of
Georgia’s NATO aspiration. And that support was reaffirmed by you and
your recent meeting with our prime minister in Brussels.

This is a welcomed recognition of Georgia’s steady contribution to
NATO in Afghanistan and also to NATO Allies in Iraq in anticipation
that Georgia will accede this operation without blood has been spilled
demonstrate our commitment to the Alliance. And it is encouraging that
NATO is also supporting our aspirations.

But there is still a couple of technical matters, Mister Secretary
General, with compliance on that way, despite the fact that it has
augmented to a codified document, Georgia has almost all the necessary
tools of the Nation Action Plan, NATO-Georgia Commission and now
NATO-Georgia substantial package.

So my question is… So what else should Georgia be engaged for its
NATO accession agenda? And what else Georgia should do to facilitate
this process? And another issue Mister Secretary General, exactly
today, Russia is going to sign a treaty with Abkhazia. And soon it
will be followed with their treaty with South Ossetia, in these
occupied territories of Georgian… of Georgia.

So there is a question for you, Mister Secretary General, and my
Turkish colleague talked about that, how a country like Georgia should
deal with a neighbour like Russia? Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you. And the second question group comes from
Somanes Campbell(?) who is in the middle of a block ahead of you.

Q: Secretary General, may I begin on the behalf of the United Kingdom
delegation in congratulating you on you appointment and indeed to
welcome your concentration a little earlier this morning on the issue
of defence budgets.

I hope you won’t be made pessimistic if I say that I’ve been coming to
assemblies for quite a long time. And I’ve had Secretary General after
Secretary General concentrate on the issue of expenditure. And yet we
now find ourselves in the circumstances which you have described.

What makes you optimistic that on this occasion the views which you
have expressed will be received and echoed in domestic parliaments and
governments so as to ensure that obligations to this Alliance are
properly fulfilled? And if they are not, what in your view will be the
consequences?

HUGH BAYLEY: Thirdly, I’d turn to Mrs. Sherrill Gallant from Canada
who is in the left-hand block, three rows back.

Q: Welcome to the Assembly, Secretary General, some of the general
public already thinks that the efforts to stop the spread of ISIL are
under NATO command. With reports of ISIL claiming part… a part of
Libya as now part of its caliphate and currently ISIL being just next
door to Turkey and other al-Qaeda splinter groups forming a front
across North Africa is a consensus even forming in the NAC that a
NATO-led force together with its partners, a NATO-led mission to stop
ISIL and other al-Qaeda breakaway terrorist organizations from gaining
ground in Europe?

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you again. First to Deosante(?) from Georgia,
we are now implementing the comprehensive package which was decided on
in Wales. And that’s about training. That’s about defence capacity
building measures. And it’s also about establishing the training
centre in Georgia and to have embedded trainers from NATO coming here.
So we are now implementing the most comprehensive package we’ve ever
had for Georgia. And that will, of course, move Georgia towards
membership.

So I think we should implement that package and then to discuss after
that whether there’s a need for anything more because this is really a
comprehensive package we have agreed on.

I will also commend Georgia for its very valuable contribution to many
different NATO operations, especially in Afghanistan. So Georgia is
already a very highly valued partner of NATO.

Then I forgot; because I was asked by the Turkish and now by you about
Abkhazia. And of course NATO Allies do not recognize neither Abkhazia
nor South Ossetia as independent States. They are part of Georgia.
They are within the international recognized borders of Georgia. And
we support Georgia and we respect the sovereignty and the territorial
integrity of Georgia and we call on all other countries to do the
same. So we…. NATO Allies do not recognize South Ossetia or Abkhazia
being any kind of independent States; they are part of Georgia.

Then to Mr. Campbell. You told me that you have heard it before. And
that’s true. But… what should I say, it’s an important message. So I
think it’s important to repeat. But then the question is why… why
should it be reality this time?

And I think there are at least some very important things which make
these times different. And the first thing is that the security
environment has really changed.

During the 1990s, and also at least at the beginning of 2000, we have
the end of the Cold War. We have the expectation, the kind of peace
dividend, and that was some kind of reason (SILENCE) for reducing
defence expenditure. And then we had the financial crisis on the top
of that.

Now, we are seeing a much more aggressive policy, closer. Iraq is
close to NATO borders. Afghanistan was of course a challenge and
something which was also posing a threat to NATO, that’s the reason
why we went into the ISAF mission. But in one way it was a longer way.
Now, it’s close to our borders; both North Africa, Syria and Iraq is
close to our borders.

So the first reason for really believing that we are going to make a
difference now that defence budgets are going to be increased is that
the security environment has changed. It’s something new that Russia
is using force to change borders in Europe and that requires a
response change from NATO Allies.

The second reason is that this is actually the first time heads of
State and government has made this kind of pledge. We’ve had some
guidelines with all the respect from defence ministers before.

But now we’ve made a pledge on a Summit where all heads of State and
government were present. And of course, part of the pledge is some
kind of long term. We will aim to move towards 2% within a decade.
That’s a big wait to be honest. But the direction is very clear: We’re
going to increase.

And then part of (break in transmission) increasing of our
capabilities which can protect us both from threats coming from the
South and from the East. So it just increase our collective defence
against many different kinds of threats.

Then we have decided to work closer on fighting the terrorist threats
coming from returning foreign fighters. And then we have, as I said,
done something in Turkey which is the closest… which is very close
to the challenges, the threats, the instability in Iraq and Syria.

But there has been no call for a NATO-led mission, military mission
neither in Syria nor in Iraq or North Africa. Different NATO Allies
are participating in different ways. And I welcome that but as I said,
it’s not always NATO that should organize or lead all different
operations. Sometimes it is better to organize this in other ways like
we have seen… has been the wish when it comes to decisive military
actions which are now taken against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

In addition to this, NATO stands ready to help Iraq increasing the
strength and the capabilities of Iraqis defence and armed forces if so
requested by Iraq. That was a decision taken in Wales. And we stand
ready to do so when… or if the Iraqi government wants us to help
them with defence capacity building measures in Iraq.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you. I put the sixth group on notice: Manuel
Carrera de Jesus from Portugal, Boris Blasekovic from Croatia and Eva
Kaili from the European Parliament.

But first to call our third group, Mrs. Marianne Myko(?) from Estonia who is…

Q: Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to congratulate
you, Mister Stoltenberg of your appointment in this turbulent and
uncertain time we all are facing here in Europe and worldwide. We…
NATO Parliamentary Assembly members have heard during these days here
in Hague a lot of times we need to stand firm to our values. We need
to maintain and communicate unity among ourselves. I fully agree.

But there were some details nice words have to be backed with action
in reality. Otherwise, one could take wonderful words, nothing else
but for here. Let me ask rhetorically how to remain united when one of
us in NATO family is dealing with Russian maneuvers as usual, handing
one or two helicopter carrier’s to Russia. What about our values? What
about the fact in Europe there is ongoing war in Ukraine?

Secretary General I would like to make it clear what is our NATO all
about. Is it Allied values such as democracy, rule-of-law? Or is this
just pure pragmatism? Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Next, I call Harry Van Bomo from the Netherlands.

Q: You seem to have… Thank you very much Mister Chair. Secretary
General I’d like to congratulate you with your new mission. It is a
difficult one. Indeed, we are living in difficult times.

I must say I was rather disappointed by your opening speech because it
was about money, all about money. And we’re very happy to have this
question and answering session to ask you about crisis that we are
facing and still facing.

For instance, in Afghanistan, Afghanistan was once called the litmus
test for NATO. And one of our… one of your predecessors, Mr. de Hoof
Scheffer even said that we must succeed in Afghanistan. If we fail in
Afghanistan, NATO has no reason to exist. Could you comment on the
present situation in Afghanistan and NATO’s strategy in the near
future in that particular country? Thank you very much.

HUGH BAYLEY: And thirdly in this group Mr. Corium Nahapethian(?) from
Armenia who is on the right hand side of the hall, Secretary General.

Q: Thank you, Mister President. I would like to congratulate and wish
you very productive performance on the indeed important job. A major
concerning the South Caucasus and its wider proximity is the
continuous way accumulating tensions that may lead to emergence of new
geopolitical dividing lines in the national region and in Europe all.
My question… first question is what’s your vision on development of
the cooperation with other partner countries particularly in
so-Caucasus? What must be done in order to carry out the partnerships
in Wales that would raise the overall security environment in the
region and TransAtlantic space? What is the security case and economic
ties all without risk or preconditions for additional security
escalation in need of long-term? With a clear direction aimed at
building a more inclusive Europe free of new dividing lines.

Secondly, there is an increasing atmosphere of distrust and suspicion
building up as regards to unresolve conflicts with a sufficient and
adequate reaction from the international community, the frozen and
unsolved threaten to become active with a potential of major
distractions and colossal human loss.

In this regard, I would like to ask you isn’t it time for the
international community to call the recent act of aggression of
shooting down the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic helicopter and killing of
its three pilots during a training flight, true made. Instead of
formulating diplomatic messages calling for balance, as you are aware,
that such formulations are constantly being ignored.

Isn’t time to use some real pressure and even sanctions toward
initiators of hostilities in South Caucasus as well? Thank you
Secretary General.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you, first Molean Myko(?), you underlined that
we have to stand firm on our values. But it has to be actions. And you
referred to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. And in my view,
NATO has really responded in a firm and strong way to the aggressive
actions we have seen in Ukraine which Russia is responsible for.

We have, of course, responded very clearly politically and supported
Ukraine and called for Russia to withdraw its troops. But in addition
we have implemented what we call the Assurance Measures, increased our
presence in the air, more ships at sea and more forces on the ground.

And just to increase NATO air policing and the increase of NATO jets
and AWACS planes in the Eastern part of the region means that we have
five times as much NATO planes in the air now than we had at the
beginning of the year.

So that’s a substantial increase. It’s actions. It’s something
concrete. We have more ships in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. And
we have more troops on rotational basis in our Eastern Allied
countries.

In addition, we are following up implementing the Readiness Action
Plan, establishing the Spearhead Force, increasing our ability to do
intelligence surveillance, strategic situation awareness. And we are
investing in many different kinds of new capabilities.

So when it comes to being a response to what we have seen in the East,
NATO has already delivered with actions, with boots, with troops, with
planes, with ships. But in addition we are in the process of
implementing and delivering even more. Because I a hundred percent
agree with you that of course we need the values; we need the
language; we need the decisions. But even more important, we need the
implementation. And one of my main responsibilities as Secretary
General is to make sure that we are implementing.

And that’s actually one of the reasons why I also focus so much on
funding under the defence pledge on financial resources. Because
perhaps the most difficult obstacle we are facing is the lack of
resources. We need… we need the funding, we need budgets to be able
to implement the Readiness Action Plan; to have the Spearhead Force,
to have more capabilities, to invest in cyber-defence and many other
capacities and capabilities we need. And without funding, without
increased budgets we will not be able to implement.

And then Harry Von Bomell from the Netherlands, he asked me… You
asked about my assessment of Afghanistan. And what I said in my speech
is that we are going to launch the rest of a support mission at the
1st of January. And that’s a mission which is a non-combat mission.
It’s Train-Advise-and Assist. And we’re going to train-assist and
advise the Afghan security forces.

What we have been able… What we have achieved in Afghanistan is that
we have prevented Afghanistan from being a place where terrorist
organizations can have a safe haven for organizing terrorist attacks.
We have succeeded in developing the Afghan National Security Forces
from literally, almost nothing, to now a strong force of 350,000
soldiers and police. And we are going to continue to support
Afghanistan, partly by the Resolute Support Mission which is going to
be launched first of January. And the legal arrangements were adopted
by the Afghan parliamentarians a day ago; partly by continuing to
finance… to give financial support to the National Afghan Security
Forces and partly to a long-term partnership.

All of this will require financial resources. And that’s again the
reason why I focus so much on financial resources. Because if we’re
going to continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces and
at the same time being able to go into long-term partnership and at
the same time doing something with the crisis we’re seeing in Syria
and Iraq and North Africa and to develop and implement the decisions
related to the Readiness Action Plan which is the biggest increase in
our collective defence since the Cold War, then we need the increased
financial resources.

So really the bridge we need, the tools we need to handle many
different crises both the crises we see today; but also the crises in
the future is that this time we have to deliver on the pledge when it
comes increased defence spending. Because if we don’t deliver on that,
then it will be worse. And now what I say: concrete actions then will
follow up of all the decisions we’ve made at Wales.

And then the representative from Armenia: partnerships. We welcome
that. And partnerships is part of… a very important part of the
cooperative security NATO is driving to establish. And we have
partnerships with Armenia. And partnerships is an important part of
how we develop cooperation with different countries; and try to
project stability.

Then, I’m also very concerned with the recent incidents of violence in
Nagorno-Karabakh. And I think this just underlines that there is no
military solution through the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And there is
actually no alternative to a political solution.

I don’t see any direct NATO role. But instead NATO supports the Minsk
process and the efforts of the three Minsk group chairs to try to push
forward and to develop the conditions for a lasting peaceful and
negotiated solution to the violence and to the challenges we see in
Nagorno-Karabakh.

HUGH BAYLEY: Colleagues, I’m looking at the list of members indicating
they want to speak. And it seems to me… the fairest thing for me to
do would be to cut the question time for each speaker to one minute,
rather than two, which will mean we’ll get extra colleagues in. I’m
sorry to jump this on you in the middle of the proceedings; but it
seems to me, it’s the fairest thing to do.

The seventh group will consist of Mr. Hampton-Brook(?) from the
Netherlands followed by Mrs. Malahat Ibrahim Gheezi(?) from Azerbaijan
and Razia Jukonovitchien(?) from Lithuania.

But first we go to the sixth group. And I invite Manuel Carrera de
Jesus from Portugal.

Q: Merci Monsieur le President, Monsieur le Secrétaire Général. Il y a
quelques jours nous avons assisté à des manoeuvres militaires russes
a√ɬ©riennes et maritimes dans l’Atlantique qui ont conduit √ɬ†
l’intervention des forces arm√ɬ©es portugaises, en particulier de la
marine et de l’arm√ɬ©e de l’air pour escorter respectivement un navire
hydrographique russe en opération dans la zone économique exclusive
portugaise et sept avions militaires de combat aussi russes.

Vous semble-t-il, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, que nous devons voir
cette augmentation de l’activit√ɬ© militaire par Moscou comme une simple
démonstration de force, ou comme quelque chose de plus grave avec
laquelle l’Alliance devrait √ɬ™tre s√ɬ©rieuse, m√ɬ™me pr√ɬ©occup√ɬ©e…. Merci.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you Manuel. Thank you for reducing your question at
such short notice. Next comes Boris Blasikovic from Croatia. He is on
this side of the hall.

Q: Thank you Mister President. First, let me express my gratitude to
our Dutch friends for hosting. That’s so nice. Anton Brocka(?) you did
a great job… Your team did a great job.

Mister Secretary General, NATO Wales Summit wants to get input and
emphasize on its open door policy. And importance of enlargement of
the Alliance. Montenegro country, we joined Partnership for Peace
program in 2006; and was invited to join Membership Action Plan in
2009; did not receive the invitation to join the Alliance yet.

NATO leaders agreed to intensify talks in negotiations with Montenegro
and decide if it’s ready to join the Alliance by the end of 2015.
Montenegro actively participates in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan
in Somalia. It’s currently conducting the reform of its armed forces
and is producing a force to meet all the criteria set in front of
them. Mister Secretary General, please could you say your expectations
regarding the process of accession of Montenegro?

HUGH BAYLEY: Thirdly, Mrs. Eva Kaili from the European Parliament. (Inaudible)

Q: Secretary General, EU is a strategic partner for NATO and the
cooperation is essential for the European collective defence and
security policy for our territory and also assure common values in
Democracy. So I would like to ask you: Do you think the increase of
spending will help us serve the burden for stability of our common
borders? And we face new global threats. Do you think we are ready to
protect our citizens?

And how soon will the new Readiness Action Plan we’ll be ready to
answer these threats? Should these forces become permanent? And also
I’d like to add if there is a plan to address tensions that might
occur between Allies while implementing a plan B for energy security
in the Mediterranean. Can we expect to be protected from men not
respecting international law?

I’d like to ask also a timeframe. And if you could perhaps be more
specific on how and when the decisions of Wales will be implemented so
that from the Baltic States to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean EU
citizens will feel protected? Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much. First, Mr. Manuel Collera. I’m
not able to comment directly on the concrete incident of a Russian
ship which occurred outside your country. But what I can say is that
we have seen an increased Russian military activity around NATO
borders especially in the air. And that’s the reason why NATO stays
vigilant. And that’s the reason why we have increased air policing.
And we are doing what we are supposed to do. We are intercepting
Russian planes when they are approaching NATO air space. And of
course, we are also following ships which are moving towards to our
borders.

So that just underlines in a way that we have already implemented
different measures which has increased our capabilities to follow and
to be present along NATO borders.

Then to Mr. Boris Lashekovic(?). As you said we have established
focused and intensified talks with Montenegro. And we have the honour
and the pleasure of hosting the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister
of Justice Markovitc(?) from Montenegro in the North Atlantic Council
last week. And that was an excellent meeting. And we addressed also
different areas where Montenegro has to make progress to become a NATO
member. And it was a very good and constructive part of the
intensified dialogue to have the Deputy Prime Minister in the NAC.

I think also very much that it is in itself important that we have
decided the timeline; and that we’re going to assess the results by
the end of 2015. What I can say is that depends on the developments.
It depends on the progress Montenegro is making on the different
issues related to the defence performance so on, which we have
identified together with Montenegro and which should now are working
on together with Montenegro as part of the focused and intensified
dialogue. We are still standing by the open-door policy. And the
countries who qualify are then welcomed to be members as stated in the
decisions NATO has made related to the open-door policy earlier.

Then Eva Kaili from the European Parliament. I think it is important
to underline that the Readiness Action Plan is about many different
measures and many different elements. One of them is to maintain and
to continue with the assurance measures. And that means that we are
going to continue with the increased air policing five times as many
planes in the air as we had before: AWACS, fighter jets.

We’re going to continue with the increased numbers of boots on the
ground or forces on the ground on a rotational basis on our Eastern
Allies. I have visited several of them both in the Baltic countries
and in Poland. And we’re going to continue with increased naval
presence in the Baltic Sea and in the Black Sea. So the Assurance
Measures which are of great importance, they are part of the Readiness
Action Plan. And they are going to be continued. That’s not something
we’re going to do in the future. That’s already, what should I say, in
action; and is going to continue.

The second thing is that it’s going to take some time before we have
established the Readiness Action… the Spearhead Force. But in the
meantime, we are establishing an interim solution where we are
establishing an interim Spearhead Force based on the existing NATO
Response Force. So actually making part of the NATO… existing NATO
Response Force more ready and that will be an interim solution until
we have the more permanent Spearhead Force in place. And actually
Holland or the Netherlands is going to contribute to such a Spearhead
Force and other countries have already… have the interim
solutions… And other countries have already also made pledges for
contributing to the interim solution which we’re going to have already
next year.

Then there are already many elements, command and control more
situation awareness, intelligence and so on. And we’re working on all
of them. And all are going to be implemented. But some are going to
take some time before all are in place. But the implementation is
actually already going on and the rest is going to be implemented
later on. And the decisions related to the composition, the size of
the Spearhead force is going to be taken at a NATO Defence Ministerial
Meeting in February. That was 3 questions.

HUGH BAYLEY: I’m afraid we won’t get down the whole list. But we’ll
make as much progress as we can. The eighth group will consist of
Khalid Pashtun(?) from Afghanistan, Josephina Topali from Albania and
Edmund Vitt-Brot from Poland. But first the seventh group: I invite
Han ten Broeke from the Netherlands.

Q: Thank you Mister President. And thank you Secretary General. That
comment (inaudible). I’m very happy that you talked about transparency
in finance is the thing that we have been pushing for a very long
time. Our prime minister has also addressed it. So thank you for doing
that and keeping it up.

One more thing that you want to keep up is the pledge that we made or
you made in Wales. And we would like to ask you how are you going to
do it? How are you going to make the governments honour their pledge
on three issues: first, increase spending in real terms; second,
enlarge the capabilities; and third beefing up the contribution to
NATO missions. Thank you, good luck with your work in the upcoming
years and luck at you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Next, Mrs. Malahaat Ibraham Ghizy(?) from Azerbaijan who
is over at the side of the hall.

Q: Thank you very much Secretary General. The recent Paris talks
between the President of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Created hope in us,
concerning a peaceful settlement of a conflict in this region. Of
course, it is a very good sign. But after the talks, Armenian armed
forces held military exercise in the illegally recognized occupied
territory of Azerbaijan; involved 14,000 soldiers and armed personnel,
despite of these informations, Armenian side several times, Armenian
military helicopters violated Azerbaijan air space. Armenia blatantly
undermined principles of international law and thus NATO Partnership
documents through aggression against Azerbaijan.

Dear Secretary General, considering that NATO pursues peace and the
security in its neighborhood and in the region as well in this contest
how do you see the future outcomes of the peace talks vis-à-vis this
conflict settlement. And I use the opportunity: I would to
congratulate your new position and good luck for your future. Thank
you very much.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you for your question. Thirdly in this group Razia
Youknovshian(?) from Lithuania.

Q: Thank you, Chairman. Thank you President. Many people were
surprised what Russia did and what is doing in Ukraine. But I’m a bit
surprised why there were so many surprised people. Preparations for
aggression started not yesterday and not last year. Military and
civilian intelligence services of some NATO countries were giving
quite alarming information for NATO politicians at least for five last
years.

My question will be on increasing Russian intelligence activities in
the neighbouring countries and not only there. Russian hostile
intelligence activities are in the highest levels. They are capable to
intervene the political process; use their money to get influence by a
business and especially energy companies to spread corruption by
politicians, political parties, using media and decision makers.

Russia has built a structure for so-called soft power implementations
and not hiding their interest to influence our societies. My question:
“Does NATO and you personally see these threats and Russian attempts
to increase influence in NATO countries?” They attempt to destabilize
some countries even in NATO.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you, first to Han ten Broeke from the
Netherlands. You asked me how I was going to make sure that the Allies
are implementing the decisions we made at the Wales Summit related to
the defence pledge and also providing capabilities forces to our
operations. And I will do that by engaging personally with the
capitals in all the meetings I’m going to have with the prime
ministers, with presidents, with defence ministers, with the foreign
ministers and also perhaps sometimes with the minister of finance. I
will urge them and underline that it’s not me asking them; but they
decided to do something. And I’m going in a way to help them doing
what they want to do.

So it’s not me deciding over them. I’m actually going to just remind
them on what they have said that they would like to themselves.

But then I will do that in all my meetings, in all travels and so on.
But then I would also very much depend on you. Because the primary
responsibility of all Parliaments is to decide budgets.

NATO Secretary Generals and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies and the
North Atlantic Council is very important. But we don’t decide on
national budgets. That is something decided by each of the 28 Allied
National Assemblies. And you are members of those assemblies. So you
are key when it comes to making sure that through the whole Alliance
and also between different political groups we have to deliver. And
the… since the world has changed, the level of defence spending that
was right some years ago is wrong today. And that’s the reason why we
decided to increase. And that’s the reason why we have to deliver.

And we did…. Partly, we decided that those countries who are about
2% and there are four today they should remain about 2%. Partly, we
decided this is something which is kind of long-term at least a decade
goal of 2%.

But you also made decisions which has immediate impact. And that was
to stop cuts not tomorrow but today. That’s not something which can
happen later. It has to happen in the first budget we decide.

And in addition, we decided to increase in real terms as you rightly
said defence spending when our economies are improving. So this is
something you asked me what I could do. But I ask actually you to do
the job for me. And that’s my main purpose for being here. And we need
those funds to be able to meet all the other challenges we are facing
being it more aggressive action threats in the East, the South or
whatever.

And that brings me then to the question from Azerbaijan. Both
Azerbaijan and Armenia are valued partners of NATO. And we state that
again in Wales. And all Allies remain committed in their support to
the territorial integrity and independence and sovereignty of Armenia
and Azerbaijan. And that’s the reason why we continue to support
efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the
Caucasus, based on these principles and the norms of international
law, the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. But as I said, there’s
no direct NATO role in the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh. But we
support the efforts to try to find a peaceful negotiated settlement.
And we support the efforts by the three chairmen of the Minsk process
to try to make sure that we are moving forward in a difficult and
important conflict.

Then Lithuania. My main answer to you is that perhaps some was less
surprised than others. And some, in a way expected a more aggressive
actions by Russia for instance in Ukraine. And others were able to
predict that earlier. But regardless whether we were surprised or not.
We have, at least been able to agree on what is the response now. And
that is that we have to give a firm, clear and strong answer and
response. And the best way we can do that is to continue to have
increased military presence in the Baltic countries. We’re going to do
so. I visited all three of them last week. We had excellent
discussions with all three. And also to implement the Readiness Action
Plan, the Spearhead Force and all the other… the forward deployment
of Command and Control, presence of forces on a rotational basis,
intelligence situation awareness and develop our strategies when it
comes to hybrid warfare and be able to protect all Allies against any
threat. Cyber which is part of hybrid warfare.

But then it has to be… The Readiness Action Plan is a plan 28 for
28. So all have to contribute. And one of the main issues I discussed
in Latvia, with Lithuania and Estonia was that Estonia they’re going
to remain at the level of 2%. Lithuania and Latvia have to increase as
all other allied who are beneath or under the 2% level.

So big Allies have to contribute and small Allies have to contribute.
So we all have to stop cuts, increase spending and move towards 2%
guideline. And then we can implement the Readiness Action Plan. And
that’s the best answer we have to what we have seen in Ukraine and
Eastern parts of our Alliance the last month.

HUGH BAYLEY: The Secretary General has very kindly offered to stay
five minutes extra in order that we can get the last two rounds of
questions which will mean that every delegation will have asked at
least one question.

And I apologize to those who’ve indicated they won’t be able to call.
We’ve already announced members of group eight. Group nine will be Mr.
Ezrapides Stanleandi(?) from Greece; Miss Tron-Igils-Todier from
Iceland and Mr. Ahmed Couscous from Morocco.

But first I call Khalid Pashtun(?) from Afghanistan.

Q: Thank you President. I would like to ask you a question to His
Excellency. You have just mentioned that the BSA, Bilateral Security
Agreement in Afghanistan was just yesterday ratified by the
Afghanistan Parliament. And besides that, we will have a freehand
beyond 2014 in Afghanistan for the next 10 years. Our question… My
question is here… that since we have 350,000 strong army and
security forces in Afghanistan; but we have a very weak aerial
support. Right now, as you know, there is heavy fighting on in the
South of Afghanistan. And our army is not competent to compete with
them without aerial support. My question is beyond 2014 would you be
able or the NATO force will be able to continue the aerial support
beside the non-combat operation in Afghanistan which you just
mentioned it will be engaged… a NATO engagement…

HUGH BAYLEY: Thanks…

Q: But we are expecting more than that. Thank you Sir.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you, Khalid. Next, I call Mrs. Josephina Topali from Albania.

Q: Thank you Mister President. Secretary General, so this is the 60th
Session of the Parliamentary… of the NATO Assembly in a time when
the threat of terrorism is the top of the global agenda; where the
multiple crisis in Iraq, Syria Ukraine etc. The American said that
there is no Cold War it is a Hot War. The Pope said that we are just
in the Third World War. During the last time as Secretary General, I
read on the media that Russia is doing military exercise in the South
of Serbia. Is this true? We have to see, to be also focused on the
Balkans as in Ukraine in this moment of very dangerous threatening
times. Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you Josephina. And thirdly in this group, Edmund de
Vitt-Brott(?) from Poland.

Q: Thank you very much Chairman. Mister Secretary General, on behalf
of the Polish delegation I would like to congratulate you and to wish
all the very best on your new position. We’re very glad to host the
next NATO Summit in Warsaw 2016 and we hope that the key decisions for
NATO will be undertaken during the Summit.

And now I have two questions. Rapidly, changing security environment,
annexation of Crimea and Russia Federation’s activity on Eastern
Ukraine require decision of Wales Summit, formation of the Very High
Readiness Joint Task Forces. What kind of decision mechanism would be
applied for the deployment of these forces to the conflict regions?
And additional question, what kind of rule could play the North
Eastern Corps in Szczecin if these forces are deployed in Central and
Eastern Europe. Thank you very much.

HUGH BAYLEY: Secretary General.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Now I have to be very brief; because we are over
time. And the problem is not the length of the question. The problem
is the length of the answers.

So first to the question from… from Afghanistan from Khalid Pashtun.
And that’s we are going from a combat mission to a non-combat mission
by the 1st of January when we move from ISAF to Resolute Support.

And at the same time, we’re going to continue to support the Afghan
National Security Forces. And they have developed strong capabilities
themselves. And besides that, I can just say the details are going to
be decided when we make the final decisions on the execution directive
which is going to be decided on in the NAC before we launch the
mission of the Resolute Support mission.

Albania: Serbia is a sovereign and independent country. And they
decide themselves who they are conducting military exercises together
with. And the… But I agree with you that the Western Balkans is of
great importance. There are several NATO partners there.

We are in the process of discussing… assessing the possibilities of
membership for Montenegro and other countries and in Western Balkan
region. So that’s a region which is of very great importance for NATO.

Poland: The really High Readiness Force, that’s going to be used when
necessary. And the North East core headquarter in Szczecin is a
headquarter which we expect is going to play an important role when it
comes to collective defence in that part of Europe. But these are
among the details which are going to be decided at the Defence
Ministerial Meeting in February.

We are now in the process of implementing the whole plan and we are…
we have… We will get the military advice within a few days. And then
we will start the process within NATO and make the final decisions in
February.

But North-East or the Core Headquarters in Szczecin is, as I said, a
headquarter which is expected to play an important role in the whole
Spearhead Force. Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Hum, I would like to call four speakers very briefly;
because we are overrunning. First of all, Mister Everepidos
Stanliandi(?) from Greece.

Q: Thank you Chairman, here. Mister General Secretary, on behalf of
the Hellenic delegation, I would like to congratulate you for your new
job. And I wish you all the best in your new important duty.

Mister General Secretary, thank you for the positive comments you have
done for my country Greece. We live the most serious economic crisis
after the Second World War. But we give more than 2% of our GDP for
defence and security; because we feel the international and the
national situation and the importance of NATO.

My question is 90% of illegal immigrants from the Iraq and Syria will
try to come to the European territory; will come through Greece. And
we have to filter them by ourselves; and more by our own cost. How can
NATO help us to control if they are a bit … if they are between them
covert fighters of ISIS or Ebola victims, thank you?

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you. Next, I’d like to invite Mr.
Turron-Egostodier(?) from Iceland.

Q: Thank you, Mister General… Secretary General, thank you for your
informative presentation. I wish you much success in your new
capacity. The importance of ensuring regional security is inseparable
part of NATO and TransAtlantic cooperation. In recent years, we have
witnessed increased attention on the High North, on the Arctic region.
It is clear that the region is undergoing a transition which will have
a growing effect on political and economic stability in the North
Atlantic.

The Arctic is a region of enduring strategy, importance for NATO and
Allied security, not least now with acknowledged increase of Russia
presence.

Mister Secretary General, I want to ask you how the High North will be
addressed by NATO in changing geopolitical atmosphere and if NATO has
defined its rule in the region. Thank you.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you very much. I’d like to invite Ahmed Couscous
from Morocco followed by a very brief from Mr. Dragan Somaz of Serbia.
Mister Couscous.

AHMED COUSCOUS: Merci, Monsieur le Président. Monsieur le Secrétaire
G√ɬ©n√ɬ©ral, tout d’abord au nom de la d√ɬ©l√ɬ©gation marocaine, je voudrais
vous féliciter pour votre nomination. Et je voudrais saluer les
efforts fournis par l’OTAN afin de renforcer, assurer la stabilit√ɬ©
dans les pays en crise et saluer aussi les pays de l’Alliance pour
leur intervention en Iraq et en Syrie pour combattre l’√É‚Äįtat islamique
DAESH qui constitue aussi une menace dans mon pays.

Alors, ma question porte surtout sur le r√ɬīle de l’OTAN en Afghanistan.
Ne faut-il pas revoir la strat√ɬ©gie de l’OTAN dans ce pays. Ne pas se
contenter de l’intervention militaire seulement et se pencher surtout
sur l’instauration des institutions d√ɬ©mocratiques et le renforcement
de la soci√ɬ©t√ɬ© civile afin d’assurer le cheminement des aides
financières directement au peuple afghan afin de gagner leur confiance
et de trouver des solutions alternatives. √ɂİa sera bien s√ɬĽr un travail
suppl√ɬ©mentaire comme vous l’avez dit Monsieur le Secr√ɬ©taire G√ɬ©n√ɬ©ral
afin d’√ɬ©viter ce que se passe en Libye.

Ma deuxi√ɬ®me question, je voudrais savoir si l’OTAN peut-il jouer le
r√ɬīle de catalyseur dans les n√ɬ©gociations entre l’Afghanistan et le
Pakistan, condition nécessaire pour assurer la stabilité et la paix
dans le pays. Malheureusement, cette chose elle est rejetée par les
Talibans, merci.

HUGH BAYLEY: Thank you and finally Mr. Dragan Somaz from Serbia wished
to make…

Q: First of all, I want to… congratulation on your new appointment.
I hope that you and Serbian government will bring our relationship on
higher level next years. Serbia have soldiers in many missions: Mali,
Central Africa, Somalia, Lebanon. We have co-sponsors of UN Resolution
fight against ISIS or terrorism. And I must say one thing for my dear
colleagues in Parliamentary Assembly. Yes, there’s going to be a
military exercise in Serbia and next year but American army not with
Russian army. This is disinformation that my dear colleague from
Albania have. Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much. First to Greece. So I understand
very much the concerns you have about illegal immigrants coming into
your country. And of course, to some extent, that’s also linked to the
returning of foreign fighters of terrorist threat. And as I said, NATO
has decided to enhance our cooperation and to increase the exchange of
information related to foreign fighters and to work to do what we can
to handle that threat which involves some of our countries.

At the same time, I think we also have to understand that, for
instance, border control and issues related to that is not a military
issue. It’s not a responsibility of NATO. But it’s more for the
European Union. And I know that a former Defence minister of Greece is
now going to take other responsibility for immigration. This is within
the European Union. So I think you have also a good, what I say friend
to raise these issues more related to responsibilities of the European
Union than NATO when it comes to border control and so on.

Then, Haigue-Stotte(?) from Iceland on the High North. Well, I very
much believe in cooperation in the High North. There is a great
potential for more cooperation even though we have already achieved a
lot. And that’s important both for the enhancement of the resources
there, environment, energy. In the end, we should also be able to
continue the cooperation with Russia in the High North. But that’s
been as it has been for a long time depending on that we have a strong
collective defence which creates the basis for also engagement with
Russia in the High North.

Morocco: I think we have to underline that NATO is going to continue
with Afghanistan. We’re going to have the Resolute Support. We’re
going to have substantial financial support for the Afghan National
Security Forces. And we’re going to establish a long-term partnership.
The content of that long-term partnership has not yet, what should I
say, been properly discussed. Now, action should start. And President
Ghani and Dr. Abdullah are coming to the NATO Foreign Ministers’
Meeting in December. And that provides us with an opportunity to also
discuss what kind of long-term partnership are going to NATO and
Afghanistan.

And then Serbia, I welcome the cooperation we have with Serbia. And
again, I leave into a way to Serbia to decide what kind of exercises
they are doing. But anyhow, I believe that Serbia and NATO have a lot
to do together. And I very much look forward to develop further the
cooperation between NATO and Serbia into the future. Thank you.

VIDEO

NATO Secretary General speech at 60th Plenary Session of NATO
Parliamentary Assembly24 Nov. 2014

From: Baghdasarian

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_115098.htm