11/27/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/27/2023 05:52
Over the next days, NATO Foreign Ministers will discuss urgent security issues.
We face the most dangerous world in decades.
Growing global competition.
War in Ukraine.
And renewed conflict in the Middle East.
I welcome that the agreement between Hamas and Israel has led to the release of hostages.
And the delivery of more humanitarian aid.
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.
The suffering we have seen underlines the need for a lasting political solution.
NATO Allies are present in the wider Middle East region.
Including through our capacity-building mission in Iraq.
We have seen drone and rocket strikes on US positions in Syria and Iraq,
As well as attacks on commercial shipping.
This underlines the risk of escalation.
Iran must rein in its proxies.
Tomorrow, ministers will address Russia's destabilising actions in Ukraine and beyond.
Russia has brought war back to Europe.
And it seeks to destabilise our democracies, with cyber-attacks, disinformation, energy blackmail, and even migration.
In recent weeks, Moscow has been facilitating the arrival of migrants at Finland's border with Russia,
Prompting the closure of border crossing points.
Using migration as a tool to put pressure on a neighbour and a NATO Ally.
NATO stands in solidarity with our Ally Finland.
And I welcome that Frontex is helping to bolster Finland's borders.
At our ministerial, Allies will also address the challenges China presents to our security.
I welcome recent discussions between China and Allies.
Dialogue is important.
And we must seek opportunities to work together on a range of issues.
Including climate and arms control.
China is not an adversary.
But Beijing's actions challenge our security.
And we must work together to respond.
We will also address the situation in the Western Balkans.
We have seen serious violence in northern Kosovo.
Divisive and secessionist rhetoric in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
And malign attempts to sow dissent, including from Russia.
Together with the EU High Representative we will discuss ways to enhance stability in the region.
NATO has already added 1,000 extra troops to Kosovo.
And we are examining a more enduring increase of our peacekeeping contingent.
Belgrade and Pristina must re-engage in the EU-facilitated dialogue.
Stability depends on all sides choosing dialogue and diplomacy over conflict and chaos.
On Wednesday, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will join us for the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at foreign ministers' level.
We will reaffirm NATO's long-term support.
Last year, Ukraine won the battles for Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson.
This year, they continue to inflict heavy losses on Russia.
Ukraine has recaptured 50 percent of the territory that Russia seized.
It has prevailed as a sovereign, independent nation.
This is a big win for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia is weaker politically, economically, and militarily.
Ukraine continues to fight bravely.
We continue to support them.
This month, Germany and the Netherlands pledged 10 billion euros for Ukraine.
Romania opened an F-16 training centre for Ukrainian pilots.
Allies including the US and Finland are sending more air defences and ammunition to protect Ukrainian cities from Russian attacks.
And 20 Allies have now formed an air defence coalition for Ukraine.
Allies agree that Ukraine will become a member of NATO.
At our meeting, we will agree recommendations for Ukraine's priority reforms.
As we continue to support Kyiv on its path to NATO membership.
Finally, on Sweden.
Sweden's membership will make NATO stronger.
And all of us safer.
So I welcome that the Turkish parliament has begun its ratification process.
I count on Türkiye and Hungary to complete their ratifications as soon as possible.
The time has come.
With that, I am ready to take your questions.