NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked German chancellor Olaf Scholz for his strong personal commitment to NATO and Germany’s leading role in the Alliance during a visit to Berlin on Tuesday (18 January 2022).
Speaking at a press conference alongside the German Chancellor, the Secretary General stressed that NATO was ready to continue dialogue with Russia but will not compromise on core principles for European security. Mr. Stoltenberg warned that the risk of conflict in Europe remains real because of Russia’s continuing “unexplained and unjustified” military build-up in and around Ukraine. “NATO Allies call on Russia to de-escalate”, Mr. Stoltenberg said. “Any further aggression will come with a high cost for Moscow.”
The Secretary General made clear that NATO is ready to continue dialogue with Russia. “I have today invited all the members of the NATO-Russia Council to a series of meetings”, Mr. Stoltenberg said. He added that Allies are prepared to look at a range of issues with Russia, including strengthening military and civilian lines of communications, reducing risks and enhancing transparency regarding military activities, as well as reducing space and cyber threats. “We are also prepared to resume the exchange of briefings on exercises, and on our respective nuclear policies and Allies are prepared to discuss arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation”, the Secretary General said. At the same time, Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated that each nation has the right to choose its own path and that NATO will continue to protect its Allies.
“When tensions are high, dialogue is even more important”, the Secretary General said, adding that Allies will make every effort to find a political way forward. During his visit to Berlin, the Secretary General is also meeting Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht and taking part in a panel discussion organized by the Körber Stiftung.