The new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is holding Tuesday his first meeting with EU defence ministers to boost defence cooperation between the two organisations and discuss the situation in Ukraine and Syria.
“I am looking very much forward to this meeting because it is the first meeting as NATO Secretary General with EU defence ministers. The EU is a strong and essential partner of NATO,” he told reporters ahead of the meeting.
“We see that Russia is still destabilising Ukraine. We see movement of troops, equipment and tanks and advanced air defence systems. This is a violation of our agreement. We call on Russia to pull back its troops from Ukraine,” he said.
Both EU and NATO want a peaceful negotiated solution with Russia, he stressed.
On Afghanistan, he expressed his confidence that NATO will launch its new advise and assistance mission in January 2015 and that they are now finalising the contribution of troops by NATO member states for this non-combat mission.
On the issue of foreign fighters in Syria, he said this is a great security problem and that is why NATO has decided to work with Allies to exchange information, “to do what we can to do to prevent and reduce risks of returning foreign fighters to our countries.” Cooperation between NATO and EU police authorities are also continuing on this issue, he added.