Collective Defense and Security
Over the next two days, NATO defense ministers will make decisions to address the changed security environment we are facing. I expect ministers to agree to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. This will bolster our collective defense, and at the same time send a powerful signal to deter any aggression or intimidation.
All NATO allies are part of the counter-ISIL coalition, and I expect NATO to provide them with support. We are actively considering the U.S. request for NATO AWACS surveillance planes to backfill national capabilities.
Dialogue with Russia and resolution of Kremlin-involved conflicts
As long as we are firm, predictable and strong, we can also engage with Russia in political dialogue. We don’t seek confrontation with Russia. We do not seek a new Cold War.
The intense Russian airstrikes, mainly against opposition forces, are undermining these efforts (to end the suffering in Syria, reach a ceasefire and start a political transition). The increased Russian air activity in Syria is also leading to violations of NATO airspace. Overall, the substantial Russian military build-up in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean is shifting the strategic balance and raising tensions in the region. So calm, de-escalation and political solutions are more urgent than ever.
Refugee crisis in Turkey and the EU
I think we will take very seriously the request from Turkey and other allies to look into what NATO can do to help them cope and deal with the crisis and all the challenges they face, not least in Turkey. We welcome all discussions on potential measures which could contribute to addressing the refugee crisis, save lives at sea and improve the management of migratory flows and borders.