Germany remains a reliable partner
"Germany intends to be a responsible member of NATO," said Angela Merkel at a joint press conference in the Federal Chancellery. She praised the close and excellent cooperation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and with all partners at NATO Headquarters.
Jens Stoltenberg was welcomed with military honours by the Chancellor. Before his visit to the Federal Chancellery he attended meetings of the Defence Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the afternoon he met with Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
It was Jens Stoltenberg’s first official visit to the Federal Chancellery following his appointment to the post of NATO Secretary General on 28 March 2014. He took over at the helm from his predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 1 October 2014.
Germany a valued partner within NATO
Jens Stoltenberg said that Germany has always been a reliable and important ally within NATO. The Alliance has always appreciated the major contributions made by Germany to our common security, he said. The Secretary General pointed to the threat posed by terrorism following the Paris attacks. He declared that cooperation would be further stepped up to effectively address the threat posed by combatants returning from abroad.
Angela Merkel and Jens Stoltenberg also discussed the successful NATO summit in Wales. Now the measures adopted at that meeting must be implemented, said Angela Merkel.
Security for Eastern partners
The decisions adopted at the summit meeting relate to measures to protect Eastern partners. The Chancellor mentioned the Baltic states, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. Germany is committed to solidarity with the states of Central and Eastern Europe "not only on paper", but in practical form, she declared.
Germany has accepted a great many responsibilities in this context. Angela Merkel mentioned aerial surveillance in Baltic air space, and the new headquarters that are to be build in Szczecin, where NATO rapid response forces are to be based.
Policy not directed against Russia
The Chancellor said that under Article 5 NATO is called on to protect all member states. In view of the Ukraine crisis the Chancellor stressed that there can be no NATO policies directed against Russia. "We want to see political cooperation with Russia," she said. Security in Europe can be better guaranteed if "we do not work against one another". Within NATO there is absolute agreement on a twin-track approach, she reported: firstly we must be clear about our own values and principles, and secondly we must always seek cooperation. "That is why I worked to ensure that the NATO-Russia Founding Act was not suspended, but that we continue to stand by our commitments and hope that Russia will one day do the same once more".
The NATO Secretary General stressed that Russia is in violation of international law and that it has failed to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. He called on Russia to respect and uphold the Minsk Protocol, and to exert its influence over the parties to the conflict.
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an alliance of sovereign states which have decided to pursue major security and defence objectives in common. These include in particular using political and military means to guarantee the liberty and security of all member states, and helping to create a just, lasting peace order in the Euro-Atlantic region.
Further support for Afghanistan
Jens Stoltenberg praised Germany’s involvement in the Afghanistan mission. The newly concluded ISAF mission was the largest NATO mission ever, he said, and the Germans had played a crucial part in it. Looking to the new Resolute Support mission, the Chancellor said that Germany would do its bit as lead nation in the north of Afghanistan. "Naturally we are all interested in helping the Afghan government and the country’s army to ensure the security of the country independently one day."
On 4 April 1949 twelve European and North American states signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington D.C. Today NATO has 28 member states. Germany joined in 1955.