Jens Stoltenberg: “Turkey is an important ally and if an ally has concerns, those concerns should be addressed”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is determined to engage in a dialogue with such an important ally as: Turkey for Facilitate the “rapid” inclusion of Finland and Sweden in the Atlantic AllianceIt welcomes close cooperation with the EU and increased defense spending, because “without more resources there is no way to have a substantial and more universal defense” and believes the next allied leaders’ summit, to be held in Madrid on 29 and 30 June, will be successful. “It would be important, but the aggression against Ukraine makes it more timely and important,” he said in an interview with El Periódico de Catalunya, a newspaper of the same group called Prensa Ibérica, and a group of journalists. Before emigrating to Madrid – next Monday – to celebrate Spain’s 40th anniversary of joining NATO.

The new strategic concept will be adopted at the next major meeting of NATO leaders at the Madrid summit at the end of June. How did the war in Ukraine affect this document?

It is the most important NATO document after the Washington Treaty, the founding treaty. The last strategic concept was adopted in 2010. The world has fundamentally changed since then, and this needs to be reflected. In the current strategic concept, we see Russia as a strategic partner. Of course, Russia, which occupied Ukraine, is no longer a strategic partner. We also affirm that the Euro-Atlantic region is at peace. There is now a war in Europe on a scale we have not seen since the Second World War. China does not appear even once, and the great challenges to our security are hardly mentioned. To ensure that we remain the most successful alliance in history, we must continue to adapt because NATO’s success relies on its ability to change in a changing world. The strategic concept will send messages on strengthening our military stance to deal with a more aggressive Russia, and will address threats from all directions, from the south, terrorism, cybersecurity, the security implications of climate change, and technology.

How permanent will the presence of troops be in the new strategic concept?

We have added more troops since the invasion in February, and at the Madrid Summit, I hope the leaders agree to further strengthen our position. This means more presence, especially in the eastern part of the alliance, but also air defense, artillery, repositioning, equipment, reserves and of course the ability to quickly reinforce. I believe that important decisions will be taken at the summit.

Finland and Sweden promised quick accession, but Turkey sets conditions. How serious is the situation?

My aim is still to have a fast process but we need 30 allies to reach agreement and we are working in Brussels, Ankara, Helsinki and Stockholm. We must address the differences and find common ground that allows us to move forward. I am confident we will succeed, but we must acknowledge that Turkey is an important ally and that when an ally has concerns, they must be addressed. No other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey. It is part of the training mission in Iraq and helps ensure that ISIS does not return. It is enough to look at the map to understand the importance of Turkey in the Black Sea.

Do Finland and Sweden have to give up the Kurds and the arms embargo in order to get support from Turkey?

We should avoid generalizations about the Kurds. There are different Kurdish groups, and Finland and Sweden, like the European Union, have publicly declared the PKK a terrorist. They (Turkey) have expressed their concerns, I will not go into details. I’m just saying that there are different approaches and attitudes. For example, North Macedonia (membership) was a long process due to the name issue. My responsibility as secretary general is to acknowledge concerns and find ways to resolve them. This is the only way for an organization like NATO that has 30 different members from both sides of the Atlantic, different histories, different political parties and different geographies to work together.

How do you think governments should apply the lessons learned from Russian aggression to their economic relations with China?

I have been a strong supporter of free trade and globalization because it has helped us move forward and is so important to prosperity around the world. But we must also understand that our economic decisions have security implications. And this must be taken into account, especially when we engage financially with authoritarian regimes. It is now clear that being so dependent on Russian gas is not a good thing. All European allies are aware that this makes them vulnerable. Another aspect is technology. NATO’s strength is based on our technological advantage in having systems more advanced than potential enemies. But if we share the most critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing or autonomous systems with potential enemies, we are giving them tools to threaten us. New weapon systems – drones with artificial intelligence, facial recognition, autonomous systems – dangerous systems. Third, infrastructure. China is reaching out to us to try to control our critical infrastructures like 5G networks. In short, I still believe that free trade is good for our economies and we should maintain our economic relations with authoritarian regimes, but the security implications also need to be taken into account. And freedom is more important than free trade and protection of values ​​than profit. If we have to choose between free trade and freedom, let’s choose freedom.

How do you analyze the situation in Ukraine after three months of war?

President (Vladimir) Putin made a huge strategic mistake. He hoped to reach his goals within a week. It has now entered the 13th week of the war and Russian troops have been driven out of Kiev and the north of the country, and Ukrainian troops are fiercely fighting the Russian offensive in Donbas. Wars are unpredictable and no one can say for sure when or how they will end. We saw the courage and professionalism of the Ukrainian soldiers, the courage of the President (Volodymyr) Zelensky and the political leaders, and the courage of the Ukrainian people. This, combined with the unprecedented military support of NATO allies and partners, made it possible to stand up to the Russian invasion and influence the entire world.

How do you see NATO’s role in this Ukraine crisis?

NATO has two missions. The first is to support Ukraine, the second is to prevent escalation. We are providing more and more NATO standard equipment, and I urge allies to continue to step up. We must be prepared for a long war. No one can say how long it will take, but the allies need to be prepared to provide support and supplies (Ukraine) for the long haul as this is more and more a war of attrition with casualties on both sides. There is a huge need for ammunition, fuel, reinforcements. It’s not just about new equipment, it’s about maintenance, spare parts to maintain capabilities.

The second goal is to prevent the war from spreading outside of Ukraine.

We have a responsibility not to cause or contribute to an escalation. NATO is not part of the war. (But) self-defense is enshrined in the UN Charter and is a Ukrainian right. We have been helping them since 2014. The idea that we wake up on February 24 is wrong. Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine was one of the most anticipated attacks. We had intelligence predicting what would happen in the fall. Since the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, NATO has adapted and prepared to be ready when Russia invaded, and we have taken action to significantly increase our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. The aim is not to provoke a war, but to prevent conflict and keep the peace, and to do this by eliminating the margin for error and misunderstanding with Moscow. Of course, NATO is for all and all for one. If an ally is attacked, the entire Alliance responds.

Source: Informacion


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