Stoltenberg: NATO To Reaffirm Long-Term Support To Ukraine As Foreign Ministers Address Urgent Security Issues

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NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels over the next two days will address the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as growing strategic competition, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday (27 November). 

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Stoltenberg called for the halt in fighting in Gaza to be prolonged. “I call for an extension of the pause. This would allow for much needed relief to the people of Gaza and the release of more hostages,” Mr Stoltenberg said, calling on Iran to “rein in its proxies” after a series of strikes against US forces in Iraq and Syria. 

On Russia, Mr Stoltenberg warned that Moscow seeks to destabilise Allied democracies, citing cyber-attacks and energy blackmail, as well as its use of migrants against Finland. “NATO stands in solidarity with our Ally Finland”, the Secretary General said following Moscow’s actions in recent weeks to facilitate the arrival of migrants at Finland’s border with Russia and use “migration as a tool to put pressure on a neighbour and a NATO Ally” prompting the closure of border crossing points.

Addressing Ukraine’s offensive, Mr Stoltenberg said that Kyiv is “inflicting major losses on Russia,” has recaptured 50 percent of the territory that Russia had seized, and that it has “prevailed as a sovereign independent nation”. “This is a big win for Ukraine”, the Secretary General said, adding that Russia is “weaker politically, economically and militarily” than before the war. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will attend the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at foreign ministers’ level on Wednesday (29 November). “We will reaffirm NATO’s long-term support” to Ukraine Mr Stoltenberg said and “agree recommendations for Ukraine’s priority reforms, as we continue to support Kyiv on its path to NATO membership.”

Ministers will also discuss the situation in the Western Balkans. Mr Stoltenberg said that NATO was examining a more permanent increase of troop numbers in the region to keep the peace. “Stability depends on all sides choosing dialogue and diplomacy over conflict and chaos,” he added.  Mr Stoltenberg also called on Türkiye and Hungary to complete the ratification process for Sweden’s membership of NATO as soon as possible, saying “the time has come.” Allies will also address the challenges posed by China. The Secretary General welcomed recent discussions between China and Allies underlining that “dialogue is important”. “China is not an adversary but Beijing’s actions challenge our security, and we must work together to respond,” he said.

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