NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Baiba Braže, today opened the “Russian War Crimes House” exhibition at the NATO Headquarters

Published in World
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 13:26

Ambassador Braže reiterated NATO’s commitment in the Madrid Summit declaration to work with relevant stakeholders to hold all those responsible for war crimes accountable. Speaking in Ukrainian, Ambassador Braže said: “We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, and we are determined to do all we can to support you. Your courage is an inspiration.”

The Russian War Crimes House exhibition consists of photos and a video depicting Russian atrocities in Ukraine. It will be on display at the NATO headquarters from 6 to 15 July. The exhibition was previously shown in Davos during the World Economic Forum in May 2022. It is organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

Today’s opening ceremony was hosted by Ambassador Nataliia Galibarenko, the Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO. The Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, who was himself abducted in March for several days by the Russian forces, spoke in person of the destruction of Ukrainian lives, livelihoods and cities by the Russian invasion. The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrii Yermak, and the Ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Korynevych, addressed the audience remotely.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission providing the framework for our cooperation. Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO Allies have equipped and trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. Following Russia’s invasion earlier this year, Allies have stepped up with billions of dollars of weapons and other assistance to help Ukraine uphold its right to self-defence and prevail against Russian aggression.


Prime Minister participates in NATO Summit in Madrid

Published in Politics
Thursday, 30 June 2022 15:56

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, together with the Georgian delegation, took part in today's special meeting of the North Atlantic Council within the scope of the NATO Summit in Madrid. Besides the Alliance's member states, the session's participants included the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, and senior EU officials. The meeting discussed some of the challenges facing the global security architecture and the security environment emerging in the Euro-Atlantic space, with emphasis on the need to further the cooperation among NATO member and partner states in order to join forces toward helping maintain rules-based international order. The meeting also discussed the events unfolding in Ukraine. The importance of assisting Ukraine against the ongoing military aggression was also highlighted.

The Prime Minister of Georgia spoke about the worsening security situation in the Black Sea Region and Georgia's steps in light of these circumstances. The Prime Minister, in his speech, underlined the unprecedentedly high level of practical cooperation between Georgia and NATO over the past few years, also expressing hope that the country's progress in implementing reforms will have a positive impact on Georgia's path toward membership.

Several important documents have been adopted at the Madrid Summit, including the new Strategic Concept of NATO 2030, the Madrid Summit Declaration, and the Tailored Support Document for Georgia. Notably, all three documents contain issues of critical importance to Georgia. In particular, they reaffirm the decision made at the Bucharest Summit on Georgia's eventual NATO membership, also reinforcing NATO's open door policy, Georgia's status as an aspirant country, and the Alliance's unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The issue of Georgia is reflected in detail in the new Strategic Concept of NATO, the Alliance's guideline document in the course of the next ten years.

Notably, the Tailored Support Document for Georgia, approved at the summit, sets forth concrete measures for furthering Georgia's defense capabilities and enhancing NATO's effective engagement in this process.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Irakli Garibashvili: I am departing for Brussels today, to hold high-level meetings; naturally, we will have discussions around our recently submitted questionnaire

Published in Politics
Monday, 16 May 2022 16:20

I am departing for Brussels today, to hold high-level meetings; naturally, we will have discussions around our recently submitted questionnaire, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated during today's Cabinet meeting.

According to the Prime Minister, he is scheduled to meet with the NATO Secretary General, President Charles Michel of the European Council, the President of the European Parliament, and other senior officials.

"As you know, we completed the questionnaire ahead of schedule. Once again, I am thankful to all public servants engaged, the Ministers and the Cabinet as a whole, every institution, the Parliament, for making sure that the questionnaire is completed and submitted to the EU on time. I am about to have top-level meetings in Brussels on this and other issues. I will also meet with the NATO Secretary General, President Charles Michel of the European Council, the President of the European Parliament, and other senior officials. We will inform the public on the outcomes in due course," Irakli Garibashvili said.

Press Service of the Government Administration

GLOBALink | U.S., NATO have neither right nor authority to judge others: FM spokesperson

Published in CHINA
Friday, 25 March 2022 18:35

BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Before reflecting on their crimes against the peoples in countries like Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, the U.S. and NATO have neither right nor authority to judge others, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

GLOBALink | NATO approves deployment of four new battle groups

Published in CHINA
Friday, 25 March 2022 12:18

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) approved on Thursday the deployment of four new battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, declared Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary general during a press briefing.

   In total, there will now be eight NATO battle groups deployed along the eastern flank of the alliance, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

   The organization's heads of states were called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss further support for Ukraine, in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that started exactly one month ago.

   Meanwhile, Stoltenberg said that the alliance's top military commander has activated NATO's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense elements and allies are deploying additional chemical and biological and nuclear defenses.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

Prime Minister’s meeting with NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia

Published in Politics
Thursday, 21 October 2021 15:37

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held a meeting with Javier Colomina, the NATO Secretary General's newly appointed Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister congratulated Colomina on his appointment and expressed confidence that his tenure will mark NATO-Georgia relations deepening even further and concrete steps toward Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration.
The conversation focused on NATO's open-door policy and Georgia's integration into the North Atlantic Alliance, pointing out the country's formidable progress toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration, strengthening democratic institutions, and implementing defense reforms.
The meeting paid special attention to the upcoming 2022 NATO Summit, underlining it as an excellent opportunity for duly assessing Georgia's progress, further to encourage the country's advancement on the path toward Euro-Atlantic integration.
The meeting discussed cooperation on Black Sea security, with emphasis on Georgia's considerable contribution to ensuring Euro-Atlantic peace and security. The parties underscored Georgia's role in in international peace missions, namely the ISAF operations in Afghanistan and the process of evacuation from Afghanistan after the completion of the Resolute Support Mission. Georgia remains committed to the common principles and values of security, ready to continue participating in the Allies' efforts to secure global peace and security.
The parties singled out the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, the key mechanism of NATO's practical support for Georgia, as the Georgian Government's top priority.
The meeting also touched on the importance of joint NATO-Georgia exercises, underlining that joint efforts have resulted in modernizing and developing relevant training infrastructure meeting NATO standards. Consequently, Georgia is ready to offer the Allies a high-standard setting for large-scale drills.
The meeting was attended by Head NATO International Office's Political Affairs and Security Division Steffen Elgersma, Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia Rosaria Puglisi, Deputy Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia Pirit Pikker, and Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani representing the Georgian side.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Updated SNGP Approved within Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Published in military
Monday, 07 December 2020 10:45

Refreshed Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) was approved by NATO Allies and Georgia at the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The updated package will provide more support to improve Georgia’s defense and security capabilities, strengthen resistance, enhance interoperability to NATO and Georgia’s integration process to the Alliance.    

Decision on renew/refresh of SNGP was made within NAC official visit to Georgia back in 2019. On NAC behalf, NATO Partnership and Cooperative Security Committee (PSCS) was responsible to lead the SNGP refreshment process in 2020 in cooperation with the Georgian side. The Interagency Council for Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, established under the decree of Prime Minister of Georgia, led the process under the leadership of MoD. 

“Just the fact that we had this meeting at ministerial level sends a very clear message of support. It demonstrates the strong political support from all NATO Allies to Georgia, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the fact that we provide both political support but also practical support. And we do that also by strengthening the package, which is the foundation for our cooperation, the partnership with Georgia. It was expressed clearly by Allies that they are looking into how they can further provide practical support in different ways to Georgia. One of the purposes of NATO 2030 is, of course, also to look into how we can further strengthen our partnerships, work with countries like Georgia”, stated NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the press conference.

On the basis of 5 year-long experience received during the successful implementation of SNGP, the refreshed process aimed to review existing initiatives, to intensify and successfully implement them, as well as to add new practical components within it.

Press release of MOD Georgia

The NATO Secretary General’s report refers to Georgia as one of the important partners of the Alliance

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 16:01
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg released his annual report which includes details of NATO activities in 2016. The document provides an overview of the current geo-political situation in the world, challenges facing the Alliance and measures taken by the Alliance to counter these challenges. The Report refers to Georgia in various aspects, including as an aspiring member and one of the most important partners of the Alliance providing significant troop contributions to the Resolute Support mission (RSM). The Secretary General speaks about Georgia in the context of the Open Door Policy. The report reads that “NATO’s Open Door Policy is a founding principle and one of the Alliance’s great successes. In 2016 Montenegro was invited to begin accession talks to join NATO. The invitation to Montenegro is a clear sign that NATO’s door remains open to those countries that want to join and that meet the criteria of membership. Work continues with other countries that aspire to join the Alliance – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to help them prepare for NATO membership. NATO has a strong programme of cooperation with each aspiring member state to help it carry out the reforms necessary for membership”. A separate chapter in the report is devoted to issues relating to the implementation of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. According to the Report, defence capacity building for Georgia is provided through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. The Package also provides expert advice in the areas of acquisition, strategic and operational plans, Special Operations Forces, military police, cyber defence, maritime security, aviation, air defence and strategic communications. It also covers support and contributions to NATO exercises in Georgia. The package includes the establishment of a Joint Training and Evaluation Centre and a Defence Institution Building School. According to the document, the Partnership Interoperability Initiative offers specific partners enhanced opportunities for deeper cooperation. Five partners (Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden) currently have access to enhanced cooperation, which includes tailored consultation on security matters and close participation in exercises. The report highlights Georgia’s contribution towards ensuring international security referring to Georgia (with its 870 soldiers) as the largest troop contributing nations among non-member states. Commenting on the global geo-political situation, the NATO Secretary General said: “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine, as well as ISIL’s seizure of Mosul, marked in very different ways the start of a new era. So today, the Alliance must engage in both collective defence and crisis management at the same time, strengthening its collective defence and projecting stability beyond its borders”. In this context, the Report makes mention of the deployment of NATO’s multinational battlegroups led by Romania in Baltic countries, as well as in the Black Sea region.

Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 16:57

Doorstep statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Foreign Ministers:
Good morning.
Today and tomorrow, NATO’s Foreign Ministers will address some of the security challenges we are all facing and we will do that by addressing a wide range of the issues but at the core of the meeting is the importance of the transatlantic bond, the bond between Europe and North America. One way of strengthening the bond between North America and Europe is by strengthening the cooperation between NATO and EU. And we have a momentum now when it comes to NATO-EU cooperation. In July, I signed a Joint Declaration with Presidents Tusk and Juncker and at the meeting today we will decide how we turn that declaration into concrete action.
So this afternoon, we will meet with EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and all Allies will endorse over 40 proposals to deepen our cooperation in seven key areas. These include agreements to do more on land, at sea, and in cyberspace – including to counter hybrid threats.
We will also commit to working more closely to support our partners in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Our proposals are pragmatic, but ambitious and we will continue to work in this spirit.
Later today, we will focus on NATO’s efforts to project stability beyond our borders – to the south and to the east. We have made progress since the Warsaw Summit. Our AWACS surveillance planes have started to provide information to the Counter-ISIL Coalition. We have trained many Iraqi officers and are now expanding that training. And our new operation Sea Guardian is now supporting EU’s Operation Sophia in the Central Mediterranean. We will also address NATO’s support for the Western Balkans, which requires our continued attention and effort
Tomorrow, we will begin with a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Underscoring the Alliance’s enduring support for Ukraine. We will take stock of NATO’s support, and of the government’s reforms.
The ministerial will close with a meeting on Afghanistan and our Resolute Support mission. We will reconfirm our strong commitment to Afghanistan’s security and we will get an update on the government’s reform agenda, which is essential for Afghanistan’s long-term stability and prosperity.
And with that, I’m ready to take your questions.
Q: Secretary General, after the agreement on logistics signed today between the US and the EU, are you concerned at all that this sidesteps NATO? And, how can real NATO-EU cooperation move forward without a peace deal on Cyprus?
Secretary General: I welcome the agreement that is signed between the United States and the EU today. Because that is one building bloc of what we are going to do later on here at NATO, and that is to strengthen the transatlantic bond, by strengthening the cooperation between NATO and the European Union. And we think this is more important than ever, partly because we are faced with new kinds of threats. This combination of military and non-military means of aggression, hybrid, cyber, terrorism that requires that NATO and the European Union work together. We also think that stronger NATO-EU cooperation is even more important, because the European Union is now more focused on strengthening a European defence. And we welcome stronger European defence, but to make sure that this is done in a way which is complementary to NATO, we need even closer cooperation between NATO and the European Union. Also the fact that there have been questions, that questions have been asked related to the strength of the transatlantic bond, I think the best way to respond to those questions is to deliver stronger NATO-EU cooperation, which strengthens the transatlantic bond. And today, we will endorse 40 concrete proposals on cyber, on hybrid, on exercises, on maritime cooperation and in many other areas. So the agreement between the US and the European Union is something we welcome; we regard it as a building bloc in the broader effort of strengthening the transatlantic bond.
On the Cyprus conflict, I will just say that I strongly support the efforts, the EU-led efforts to find a solution between the two communities at Cyprus. There has been some progress, but still I think it’s not sure to say whether they will succeed or not. But I think what we have proven over the last couple of years is that even with the conflict in Cyprus unsolved, we have been able to move forward on strengthening NATO-EU cooperation. We have seen that in the Aegean Sea, where NATO and the European Union work together; we have seen it now in the Central Mediterranean with Sea Guardian and Operation Sophia and we see today with the 40 concrete proposals. So, yes I would like to see a solution to the conflict in Cyprus, but no, that’s not a precondition on moving forward on NATO-EU cooperation.
Q: in the war against Daesh NATO is participating in support of the Coalition, can you tell us the first result of NATO contribution in this war against Daesh in Syria and Iraq? And maybe will the Sea Guardian Operation be useful in monitoring and may be fighting the movement of Daesh fighters from Iraq and Syria to Libya, because according to many security experts this will be one of their options.
Secretary General: All NATO Allies participate in the counter-ISIL Coalition. And for the Coalition it is important and a great advantage that through decades of NATO exercises and decades of NATO operations, NATO allies and partners have developed interoperability, the ability to work closely together in military operations, as we now see in Syria and Iraq. So NATO Allies participate and the Coalition…[inaudible]. Second, we decided in July to increase our support from NATO to the Counter-ISIL Coalition. We have done that by providing AWACS support and AWACS planes have started to fly and to provide information supporting the counter-ISIL Coalition to improve their air picture over Iraq and Syria; and we have trained Iraqi officers; we will increase that by also starting now in-country training in Iraq from January; and we will then assess and look into whether we are going to do even more based on the experience from the activity that will start in Iraq in January.
Our Sea Guardian operation is a Maritime Security Operation. It’s a flexible operation. It can be used to different tasks, depending on decisions by the 28 Allies. We have already started to provide support to Operation Sophia; we provide logistical support and also information-sharing with Sea Guardian. Sea Guardian will not operate in Libyan territorial waters. It will operate in international waters, but of course improved situational awareness and better understanding of what’s going on also in the Mediterranean sea contributes to our overall effort to counter terrorism in the region.
Q: In Russian President Putin’s state of the union speech last week and his foreign policy document, he expressed the wish to try to [inaudible] cooperation with the US and the new President. What is your take on the speech and on the foreign policy document? Is there anything for NATO there to work for better relations with the Russians?
Secretary General: I welcome any toning down of the rhetoric, because words matter. Less aggressive rhetoric can be a first step towards also better dialogue. At the same time, words matter but of course deeds matter even more. Therefore the important thing is what we see, what kinds of actions we see from the Russian side. We will continue to pursue a dual track approach with Russia based on strength, based on deterrence and collective defence combined with dialogue and by keeping the channels for political dialogue open with Russia. This was the message the first day I arrived in NATO the 1st of October 2014, that we need defence and dialogue not defence or dialogue.  Therefore, we welcome anything that can improve the conditions for dialogue with Russia. We believe that especially when tensions run high it is particularly important to have dialogue to have direct communications, and we do not want a new cold war, we don’t seek confrontation with Russia. We will continue to strive for a more constructive relationship with Russia.
Q: Mr Secretary General, there will be an informal discussion about the future relationship with Russia. Could you give us an insight why the Alliance is always trying to reconsider to look for another approach to make the ties with Russia better if there is no reciprocity from the Moscow side.
Secretary General: One of the reasons why we think it is important to sit down is also to discuss those issues where we disagree. So far this year we have been able to convene two meetings of the NATO-Russia Council. And there we have also discussed also issues like Ukraine. We didn’t come to any agreement, we continue to disagree but I think just to meet, to sit around the table and to have a frank and open discussion on also the difficult issues is important. We will continue to keep that kind of dialogue open in different ways but also through the Nato-Russia Council. Then we will also continue to work for reciprocity when it comes to transparency, risk reduction, and also the full implementation of the different agreements we have, for instance in the OSCE framework on transparency and risk reduction. We have something called the Vienna document and something called the open skies document. These documents regulate how you notify military exercises, how international observers are allowed to inspect military exercises, and one of the issues we have very much focused on in our dialogue with Russia is exactly how we can strengthen and improve these kind of mechanism’s, partly by making sure that existing mechanisms are fully implemented and partly by improving some of the mechanism. So we are strengthening the tools to avoid incidents and accidents, like for instance the downing of a Russian plane over Turkey last tear. Or some of the very dangerous situations we have seen in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, where Russian planes have been very close to NATO or US planes and ships. So we need to strengthen the tools we have to avoid these kind of dangerous situations and if they happen, to make sure that they do not spiral out of control. This is of course about reciprocity and that is exactly what we are discussing for instance in the NATO-Russia Council.

Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Published in World
Thursday, 27 October 2016 12:00

Good evening.
We have just finished a productive meeting of the NATO defence ministers addressing deterrence and defence and how we are going to implement the decisions we made at the Warsaw Summit.
Protecting our almost one billion citizens is NATO’s primary responsibility.
At the Warsaw Summit in July, NATO leaders took decisions to ensure we continue to do so.
Over the past 100 days, we have come a long way in implementing those decisions.  Today we assessed how far we have come. And the work that lies ahead.
Earlier this year, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States each committed to lead a multinational battalion in the eastern part of the Alliance. A transatlantic demonstration of rock-solid support for our Allies. 
I am proud to announce that many other Allies confirmed contributions to these forces today.
Albania, Italy, Poland and Slovenia will contribute to the Canadian-led battalion in Latvia. Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Norway will join the German-led battalion in Lithuania.Denmark and France will contribute to the UK-led battalion in Estonia. And Romania and the United Kingdom will join the US-led battalion in Poland. Our forces will be truly multinational.  Sending an unmistakable message: NATO stands as one.  An attack on any Ally will be considered an attack on us all.
In Warsaw, we said that we expected to deploy the four battalions in early 2017.
I am pleased to confirm that we are on track.This Alliance does what it says.  And we deliver on our promises.Today we also discussed progress in strengthening NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region.  With a Romanian-led multinational framework brigade on land.And we are working on measures in the air and at sea.  And I’m pleased to confirm that several nations indicated their willingness to contribute to our presence in the Black Sea region, on land, at sea and in the air.
Including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United States. Other Allies are also looking into how they can contribute. During the meeting, we discussed recent military activity close to NATO’s borders.  Including the recent KAVKAZ 2016 exercise, and Russia’s deployment of Iskander missile systems to Kaliningrad.
We are concerned about Russia’s behaviour.  But dialogue is even more important when tensions run high. And Allies stand ready to hold an ambassadorial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future. We also discussed the growing role of cyber defence for NATO.  In Warsaw, Allies pledged to strengthen their national cyber defences. And today, we stressed the importance of making good on that pledge.  So that we can show real results by the time of our next Summit.
Finally, new security challenges can mean new demands on our command structure. It must be robust and agile, empowering the Alliance to continue to take quick and decisive action. So we have decided to assemble a Senior Experts Group to support the Strategic Commanders in assessing the effectiveness of the NATO Command Structure. We covered a lot of ground this afternoon.  And I am encouraged by the progress we are making.
Guided by decisions made at the Warsaw Summit, NATO is adapting for the future. To keep our people safe and our Alliance strong. And with that, I am ready to take your questions.
Q) Secretary General, Cristian Unteanu, ADEVARUL, Romania, please be kind to elaborate a little bit more on the measures regarding Romania just in line of the decisions taken in the Warsaw Summit. 
Secretary General: We are in the process of deciding the shape and the design of the tailored presence in the south east of the alliance. Several nations announced today that they are ready to contribute forces and capabilities. Both to enhance our presence in the air, at sea and on land. Many elements are already agreed but we are working on the full package of measures. And we aim at being able to present and to agree at our Defence Ministerial meeting in February. So, what I can say is that the work is progressing well, several Allies made announcements today that they are ready to provide different kinds of forces, but all the elements are not yet fully decided. So, some work remains to be done. Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and the United States announced during the meeting that they will contribute to our increased, our enhanced tailored forward presence in the south east of the Alliance.
Q) Izvestiya. Thank you Mr. Stoltenberg, would you please clarify the point, the reason of appointing a new chief of intelligence. Why was that person selected? Does he have a team? When does it start working? Thank you very much.
Secretary General: We are faced with a new and more demanding security environment, with all the violence, the instability to the south with ISIL, and also with turmoil in north Africa and the Middle East and this has direct consequences for NATO Allies, because it’s close to NATO borders. At the same time we face a very different challenge with a more assertive Russia, which is increasing its military presence close to NATO borders. So, all of this which is a more demanding security environment increases the need for us to understand and to assess the challenges we are faced with.  To react in a proportionate and responsive way. And therefore intelligence has become even more important, collecting intelligence, sharing intelligence, but of course also to understand better. That’s the reason why we have decided to establish a new division, inside NATO, which is dedicated to intelligence and which is going to be chaired or led by a new Assistant Secretary General on Intelligence. I have appointed a German. He has a long career from the foreign service of Germany, but also from their intelligence services. So I regard him as a very fit for the task. I am looking forward to work with him. He will start within not too long time but I cannot give you an exact date. He will be in NATO as soon as possible. So, then we have been able to strengthen and improve the way we work on intelligence in NATO and that is also important, because of how we support and help nations to work through their own intelligence.
Q) Gallavotti, ADN/KRONOS. The Defence Minister of Italy asked for a major role of the joint command in Naples. I wonder what do you expect for the southern flank of the Alliance.
Secretary General: First, I think it is important to underline that what NATO does with this 360 degree approach meaning that when we for instance increase the readiness of our forces, when we now have established the new high readiness joint task force, and when we have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force with 40,000 troops, that is relevant both for the east and for the south. It is not something which is earmarked for the east. It is earmarked for responses to any threats from any directions. So, it is also relevant for the south; the new high readiness joint task force and the enhanced NATO response force. Second, we are addressing several issues which are, shall I say, part of our response to the challenges that we see in the south. We have increased our presence in Turkey, with assurance measures in Turkey and I welcome that Italy is contributing with a counter-missile battery SAMP-T. That is important.
And that is one of the concrete examples of how we have increased our presence in the south with increased NATO presence in Turkey. We are going to discuss tonight also other issues which are highly relevant for Italy and the south. We are going to discuss the establishment of Sea Guardian, the new maritime security mission of NATO in the Mediterranean and will address how Sea Guardian can provide support to the EU operation Sophia. We will make decisions tonight, hopefully and then I will be to announce them tomorrow. So then I can tell you more. Lastly, we will also address, of course, how we can step up the support for the Counter-ISIL Coalition. We have started to provide direct support with NATO AWACS surveillance airplanes that started last week on the 20
th of October. And we are also in the process of making decisions on the training of Iraqi officers inside Iraq. We have trained them in Jordan for some time, but they are now moving into Iraq and we will also make decisions on that mtonight.
Q) Teri Schultz, NPR: Mr. Secretary General, what is your understanding of the new reinforcements that Russia is adding to its Baltic fleet near Kaliningrad. There are some reports coming from Russian media and I would like to have your comments. And the Polish Defence Minister has said at this meeting that this changes the balance of power in and around Kaliningrad. What is your understanding of what their capabilities are.….?
Secretary General: I can confirm that two Russian warships have recently entered the Baltic Sea. And NATO is monitoring this movement in the way we always do, in a responsible and measured way. But we are of course always following this kind of movement and deployment of Russian naval forces, as for instance we are also monitoring the movement of the aircraft carrier group into the Mediterranean. But at the same time I think we have to understand that this is just yet another example of a pattern we have seen over long period of time, where we see more Russian activity, we see Russian military build-up, and we see also more Russian exercises and many different kinds of capabilities.
And I think it is important for NATO to have a strategic approach, to understand that we should not relate to each event, but relate to the overall picture. That’s exactly why NATO has responded and why NATO is responding with increased readiness of our forces, with increased presence also in the Baltic region and also with small headquarters in the eastern part of the Alliance to be able to plan exercises and to coordinate efforts of the national home defence forces and NATO forces and possible reinforcements. So all of this is part of a picture which NATO has responded to and to which NATO will continue to respond. For me it is important to react to this in a measured and responsible way and underline that what NATO does in the Baltic region, but also in the south east of the Alliance is defensive, it is proportionate and it is fully in line with our international commitments.  
Q)HROMADSKE TV (Ukraine): What is the deadline of the deployment for the four battalions and what weapons will they have?
Secretary General: Well, the decision we made in July was to start the deployment early 2017, early next year and then be fully deployed by the summer. That is still the plan and we are on track and we are moving according to that plan and actually I am very inspired by the meeting today, because so many nations were very firm in concrete decisions and announcements on contributions to the four battalions. So they will be robust, they will be multinational, and they will be combat ready. They will not be exactly the same in the four different countries, but I can say that they will be robust, they will be combat ready and they will be reinforced battalions. So they will deliver a very clear message of strength and deterrence from NATO.
Q)Julian Barnes, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Mr. Secretary General, 1 could you react to the Russian withdrawal on her request to refuel at a Spanish port? Is that a positive development? And 2. You repeatedly said, NATO is defensive Alliance, but are you worried that we are in an escalatory situation where NATO in sending tanks to the eastern flank and Russia is sending ships to the Baltic Sea, Russia is reinforcing the East Mediterranean, NATO is reinforcing in the Black Sea. Is this a dangerous escalatory situation?
Secretary General: NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia. We don’t want a new cold war and we don’t want a new arms race and therefore what NATO does is defensive and it is proportionate. At the same time, NATO has to react when we over a long period of time have seen a substantial military build-up by Russia and we have seen them modernizing their military capabilities and most importantly we have seen them willing to use military force against neighbors Crimea, Ukraine and also Georgia and we also saw a threatening rhetoric from Russia. So NATO has to respond to continue to deliver credible deterrence in a new security environment and we have to remember that the reason why we delivered deterrence, why NATO is strong is not because we want to provoke a conflict, but it is because we want to prevent a conflict; and the best way to do that is to stay strong, united and be firm in our response.
We combine this message with a very clear message about that we seek dialogue, we seek a more cooperative relationship with Russia and we want transparency. Therefore we are transparent on our exercises, we are transparent on our increased presence and actually at the last meeting of the NATO-Russia Council we spent a lot of time going through what NATO is doing. Illustrating exactly what we are doing, but also by being transparent contributing to avoid even increased tensions. Especially when tensions are high, it’s important that we keep channels for political dialogue open. Then we have seen deployments of different assets; at the same time I think it is important to underline that every nation has the right to exercise their troops, its forces and Russia has the right to operate in international waters with its naval assets. So for me that underlines the importance of not reacting in each individual event, but look at the brother strategic picture and have a strategic approach; and we have done exactly that, based on a development we have seen over a long period of time.
Q)Lucia Abelan, EL PAIS: It is a follow up to my colleague’s question. Were you satisfied by the explanations that Spanish government gave about not letting  the Russian warships be refueled in Spanish territory? Thank you.
Secretary General: I said this morning that it is up to each nation to decide whether they provide supplies and refuel naval ships and that’s still my position. At the same time, I stated that we are concerned about the potential use of this carrier group to increase air strikes on Aleppo, exacerbating disaster and catastrophe in Syria and Aleppo. And I think I shall limit myself to say the same now.

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Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi 2015 forum started today. Following the success of the inaugural Routes Silk Road...

Agreement between SES and GEE

Agreement between SES and GEE

A new multi-year agreement was signed between worldwide satellite operator SES and Global Eagle Ente...

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

The visa regime imposed by Georgia to Iran has been cancelled for 15 February,” -the Deputy Ambassad...

USA to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia

USA to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia

U.S. Department of State to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia. According to the budgetary d...


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