PRE-SUMMIT CONFERENCE OF NATO AT RESIDENCE PALACE, BRUSSELS

NATO on September 1, 2014, reported on the press conference of the Secretary General in Brussels. Excerpts below:

Our Summit in Wales this week will take place in a changed world. It will address the challenges of a changed world. And so I expect it to be a crucial summit in NATO’s history.

This is a time of multiple crises on several fronts. To the east, Russia is intervening overtly in Ukraine. To the south, we see growing instability, with fragile states, the rise of extremism, and sectarian strife.

These crises can erupt with little warning. Move at great speed. And they all affect our security in different ways.

NATO’s greatest responsibility remains to protect and defend our populations and our territories. We also need the capacity to manage crises.

So at the Summit, we will ensure that the Alliance remains ready, able and willing to defend all Allies against any attack.

We will agree a Readiness Action Plan to make NATO more agile than ever.

The Readiness Action Plan responds to Russia’s aggressive behavior – but it equips the Alliance to respond to all security challenges, wherever they may arise.

We already have a NATO Response Force. This is a multinational force, which brings together land, air, maritime and special operation forces. It can be deployed anywhere in the world, for collective defence or crisis management.

We will now significantly enhance the responsiveness of our NATO Response Force. We will develop what I would call a spearhead within our Response Force – a very high readiness force able to deploy at very short notice. This spearhead would be provided by Allies in rotation, and could include several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and Special Forces support.

This will require reception facilities on NATO territory and pre-positioned equipment and supplies, command and control and logistics experts. So this force can travel light, but strike hard if needed.

We will also look at possible upgrades to national infrastructure. That could include airfields and ports to support reinforcements, if the need arises.

And we will improve our early warning through an upgrade of our intelligence gathering and sharing. We will update our defence plans; and enhance our training schedule with more exercises, of more types, in more places, more often.

The Readiness Action Plan will ensure that we have the right forces and the right equipment in the right place, at the right time. That also means more visible NATO presence in the East for as long as required. And it will make NATO fitter, faster and more flexible to adjust to all kinds of security challenges.

At the summit, we will meet with President Poroshenko of Ukraine and make clear our support for Ukraine, as it is confronted by Russia’s aggression. We will discuss his reform priorities. And take concrete steps to help Ukraine.

The crises we face reach far beyond our borders. That is why our approach to security reaches beyond our borders too.

In Wales, we will further improve the way we train, cooperate and consult with our partners. And strengthen and streamline the way we support countries which seek our help to develop their security institutions. [Thus] we can project stability without always projecting large numbers of troops.

The security landscape can change rapidly, but I am confident that NATO will go forward from the Wales Summit ready to rise to every challenge.

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