Defence matters more than ever

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the Ukraine crisis has made it more urgent that Allies work together to develop modern military capabilities and reverse the decline in defence spending.

NATO Secretary General: Ukraine crisis shows defence matters more than ever

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday (8 May 2014) the Ukraine crisis has made it more urgent that Allies work together to develop modern military capabilities and reverse the decline in defence spending. “The crisis shows us more clearly than ever that defence matters. That collective defence matters. And that cooperation between the two shores of the Atlantic is the best and most natural way to keep ourselves secure,” the Secretary General said after his talks with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The Secretary General was in Warsaw for talks with the Prime Minister as well as President Bronislaw Komorowsky on the Ukraine crisis and preparations for the NATO Summit in Wales. He also met with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Poland knows the importance of solidarity in the face of oppression and resolve in standing up for freedom and justice, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said, praising Poland’s leadership role over the 15 years since its accession to NATO, as well as during the current crisis. “You are a leading voice in Europe and in NATO, as we assess the longer-term implications of this new situation for our own security,” the NATO Secretary General stated. He made clear that collective defence remains NATO’s central task: “ I am confident that Poles will continue to invest in security and will stay vigilant. And let me assure you that as a member of NATO, you are safe. Anybody who would try to test Allied solidarity will fail.”

As the Alliance prepares for the Wales Summit, NATO’s challenge is to continue with its current tasks, including its missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, while adjusting its collective defence to meet the new reality created by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The Secretary General stressed that Allies had to strengthen their capabilities through stronger investment and stronger cooperation. “This challenge, too, will demand solidarity, resolve and leadership,” he said.

The Secretary General is travelling next to Tallinn, Estonia, where he will with Estonian President, Mr. Toomas Ilves, Prime Minister, Mr. Taavi Roivas and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Urmas Paet. On Friday he will join NATO ambassadors in a visit to the Alliance’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The Secretary General will deliver a key note speech at the University of Tallinn and visit the Baltic Air Policing mission at the Ämari airfield.

Source: NATO.

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