NATO Secretary General, Press Conference at Defence Ministers Meeting, 8 NOV 2017, 2/2

September 12, 2019 posted by


Moderator: Reuters, in the centre. Q (Reuters): Thank you. I had a question on the cyber weapon issue. Would you say then that having a cyber weapon
is less harmful than having a bomb? Is it the idea that bombing a server would
be more dangerous than say taking down a webpage? Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: Using cyber capabilities
may be a more proportionate response and that’s the reason why I welcome that we are now integrating
national cyber capabilities into NATO missions and operations and that we have agreed the
principles of doing that. For NATO, it is always our aim to use minimum
force to achieve maximum effect and therefore cyber effects may be the best response. That depends very much on the situation, but
we have seen that NATO allies have been using cyber capabilities against ISIS in Iraq and
Syria, and that has been important in the fight against ISIS, and I strongly believe
that in any military conflict cyber will be an integrated part and therefore we need to
strengthen our cyber defences and our cyber capabilities. We will integrate national cyber capabilities
into NATO missions and operations as we integrate their conventional capabilities, being it
ships, tanks, planes. It will still be under full national control,
it will be national capabilities but they will be integrated into NATO missions and
operations. Let me also add that we have as part of our
strengthening of our cyber defences we have also decided to establish or we have established
cyber as a military domain and we have also decided that cyber attacks can trigger Article
5. So integrating national cyber effects into
NATO missions and operations is yet another step to strengthen cyber in NATO. Moderator: Washington Post, third row left. Michael Birnbaum (Washington Post): Hi, Michael
Birnbaum from the Washington Post. Another question about cyber: do you foresee
a role for cyber effects to be used in the defensive operations related to the eFP deployment
or in general in that area of NATO in the Baltics and Poland? And is that something that you would announce
publically if they were to have a role that they haven’t had previously? Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: NATO is a defensive alliance
and what we do is always proportionate, it is always according to international law,
and we are now integrating cyber effects into NATO missions and operations to respond to
a changed and new security environment where cyber is part of the threat picture we have
to respond to. I will not speculate exactly when and how
we’re going to use it, I’ll only underline that it will be in accordance with international
law, it will be national-owned and controlled capabilities, and it will be a way to respond
in ways that can be more proportionate than when we are forced to only use conventional
forces, but I think it will only be wrong if I start to speculate exactly on how and
where. I can just refer to that NATO allies have
used it against ISIS in a very effective way. Moderator: Agence France Presse, lady in green. Q (Agence France Presse): Secretary General,
thank you. The Turkish Minister of Defence has sent a
letter of intent today with his French and Italian colleagues. This project is about acquiring ground-to-air
missile systems. Given that Turkey has created some unease
or questions within the alliance when announcing a project to acquire S-400 missile systems
from Russia, I was wondering how you would see this step towards a real contract. Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: So I welcome very much the
cooperation between Turkey, France, and Italy on developing air defence systems. We welcome always when NATO allies are working
together to develop different capabilities, and I think that this kind of cooperation
is the best way also to make sure that we have the capabilities different nations need
and is also a good way to make sure that when we have new capabilities they can be fully
integrated into NATO air defence systems. For NATO, it’s extremely important to have
interoperability, and of course having three NATO allies working together that is an example
of how we really develop interoperability, how nations can work together. So, yeah, so I welcome that. Moderator: Gentleman over there. Konstantin Benyumov (Meduza): Thank you. Konstantin Benyumov, from Meduza. Have you decided on the location for the coordination
centre for cybersecurity? And if yes, are there going to be specific
NATO forces involved in working or just the capabilities of NATO members? Jens Stoltenberg: The centre is part of the
existing command structure, but to be honest I’m not able to tell you exactly where it’s
going to be located, but it’s part of the existing command structure. Moderator: Jane’s, front row here. Brooks Tigner (Jane’s Defence): Yes, Brooks
Tigner, Jane’s Defence. Coming back to this logistics aspect of the
reformed NATO command structure, I was just wondering could you explain to us in more
detail what this will mean. NATO already has a number of agencies that
are intimately involved in logistics management, as you well know, so are you referring to
simply closer relationship with the EU to tackle these things or do you have something
more substantial in mind internal to the house of NATO? Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: This is about updating,
modernizing the military requirements to infrastructure, taking into account the fact that we are now
much more focused on the importance of moving heavy equipment across Europe, because after
the end of the Cold War we didn’t pay so much attention to that. The main issue was how to move lighter forces
into expeditionary operations outside NATO territory, for instance to Afghanistan. But now it is about how to move forces across
the Atlantic and how to move them across Europe, and we speak also about much heavier equipment,
battle tanks, armoured vehicles, and that kind of equipment. To be able to do that we need infrastructure
and we know that at least in many parts of Europe we don’t have the standards, we don’t
have the strength of the bridges, of the roads, or the different types of infrastructure which
can carry the heavy equipment we need to move, at least not enough, and it’s about making
sure that we have the means of transportation, the ships, the trucks, the planes, and to
a large extent these means of transportation will be privately-owned so we need to make
arrangements with the private companies on how to make these tools available if needed. It’s about legislation, and of course it’s
about making sure that NATO allies implement those standards and those requirements. We formulate the requirements and the standards,
but of course it’s nations that have to implement them when they invest in infrastructure, when
they make arrangements with for instance private providers of transportation. The European Union is important and I welcome
the very close cooperation with the European Union on this, and I know that this is also
something which the European Union has been focused on because this is partly about also
European Union financing some of these investments. So we have the ability to move forces today,
but we would like to move more forces more quickly across Europe and then we have to
invest more in infrastructure and to meet modern NATO standards. Moderator: Wall Street Journal. Q (Wall Street Journal): Mr. Secretary General,
the U.S. raised the INF Treaty violations today. Was there new information about Russian violations
of this treaty raised? What was the significance of the U.S. bringing
this discussion at the NATO ministerial level and what is the importance in your mind of
keeping the INF Treaty in place? Jens Stoltenberg: Secretary Mattis briefed
the allies on the INF Treaty and the U.S. has determined that Russia is in violation
of the INF Treaty, so that was an important message in his brief. NATO allies stressed, just as they did at
the Warsaw Summit in 2016, that the INF Treaty is very important and that a strong and viable
INF Treaty is a pillar for European security. So they also expressed that they will follow
this very closely. This is a bilateral agreement between Russia
and the United States, but of course this has a great importance for all NATO allies,
especially European NATO allies because the INF Treaty eliminates a whole category of
weapons, intermediate range missiles, which can carry nuclear weapons. And I’m part of a political generation in
Europe which really grew up with the very intense debate related to the deployment of
the SS-20s and the Pershing and the cruise missiles after the Dual-Track Decision of
NATO in 1979 and we also very much welcomed the INF Treaty which then eliminated all these
weapons in Europe. So I think that the INF Treaty is a cornerstone,
it’s extremely important that it is fully implemented, so we will continue to call on
Russia to address the serious concerns in a substantial, transparent and verifiable
way because the INF Treaty’s important for all of us. Moderator: Europa Press. Q (Europa Press): Thank you Secretary General. Going back to cyber, did any of the NATO allies
today offer offensive cyber capabilities for NATO missions and operations, and also I’m
wondering is this going to be, if it already isn’t, fitted into the NATO defence planning
process? I mean are the allies going to start getting
from now on specific capability requests for cyber offensive capabilities? Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: What we have done today
is to agree the framework and the principles for how to integrate cyber capabilities into
NATO missions and operations. Then it will be a decision by nations what
kind of capabilities they are willing integrate and to use in specific missions and operations,
and nations will retain full control and ownership to [sic] the capabilities. But I welcome the fact that we now can strengthen
NATO missions and operations also with cyber capabilities because we know that they are
important, and we know that cyber will be an integral part of any potential military
conflict. It’s too early for me to say exactly how we
will integrate that into NATO planning processes, but as soon as this is becoming a part of
NATO missions and operations we have to integrate it in one way or another in the way we plan
for missions and operations. And this is just illustrating that we are
adapting to a new world where cyber is becoming more and more important, but it’s not that
different than for instance conventional capabilities when nations have the ownership but they use
them in a NATO mission and operation. And regardless of whether we speak about a
plane or a tank or a cyber capability, the use of these capabilities is going to be in
accordance with international law and it’s going to be part of the defensive posture
of NATO. Moderator: Gentleman over there. Waseem Ibrahim (Al-Ittihad): Hello, Waseem
Ibrahim, from Al-Ittihad newspaper, Lebanese newspaper. Secretary General, you discussed the global
challenges today and you said something before about that ISIS now has a very small risk
that ISIS will focus on attacking partners or even alliance countries. Can you explain depending on what exactly
you are building this assessment? And are you worried that this fight against
ISIS will become also endless war like we see what’s happening in Afghanistan? Thank you. Jens Stoltenberg: I think we have to be prepared
that the fight against ISIS is a generational fight, that it will take time. It is an important achievement that we are
now very close to totally eradicating the caliphate, the territory they controlled in
Iraq and Syria, but ISIS or some kind of follow-up of ISIL, we have to be prepared that that
may still be a threat to NATO allies and many other people in other countries. And we have seen before that terrorist organizations
when they lose at one front they start to do aggressive actions in another area. We have seen that in Afghanistan for instance. I think the last couple of weeks and months
where the Taliban and the insurgents have not been able to gain their main strategic
goal to control provincial capitals, and then we have seen more high profile terrorist attacks
against civilians. So of course nothing is certain, this is an
unpredictable challenge and threat, but I’m just saying that we have to be prepared and
I don’t think we have the final victory over ISIL even though it is a very important
step that we have been able to get them out of the territories they controlled in Iraq
and Syria. Moderator: Okay, one question over there. That’s AP. Q (Associated Press): Associated Press, on
the other side here. A lot of what the ministers have discussed,
whether it’s command, mobility and so on, has been in reference to Russia, although
you’ve not really mentioned it. Could you give us an assessment of the threat,
the risk that you think Russia poses right now? In terms of Zapad you said that the personnel
had left; was any equipment left? Is there anything that leads you to think
that Russia poses a greater threat today than it has over the last years? Jens Stoltenberg: NATO’s deterrence and
defence is not directed against any specific nation, and we don’t see any imminent threat
against any NATO ally, and we have monitored and followed the Zapad exercise very closely,
but we haven’t seen that they have for instance left or remained with troops or equipment
for instance in Belarus as we saw some speculations about before the exercise. Having said that, we have seen a much more
assertive Russia, we have seen a Russia which has over many years invested heavily in their
military capabilities, modernized their military capabilities, which are exercising not only
conventional forces but also nuclear forces, and which has been willing to use military
force against a neighbour: Ukraine. And of course, NATO has to be able to respond
to that and we have responded to that partly with our enhanced Forward Presence with more
deployment of troops in the eastern part of the alliance, but also by increasing the readiness
of our forces and also increasing our ability to move forces. And we are constantly adapting and what we
do in Europe now is part of that adaptation. Moderator: Spiegel. Q (Der Spiegel): Secretary General, one question
also about the fight against ISIS. There has been an announcement more or less
about a possible cap…, like a mission in Iraq to stabilize the Iraqi army, and there
has been a fact finding mission as far as I know in February, what are the results of
this fact finding and is this mission in itself moving forward and will it be discussed tomorrow
at the meeting after the formal NATO meeting? Jens Stoltenberg: I expect that it will be
discussed tomorrow. It was also discussed today and NATO has already
started training activities in Iraq. We were asked by Prime Minister al-Abadi,
I met him, he sent a letter, and he asked for NATO support for training and capacity
building in Iraq of Iraqi government forces. So that’s something we have already started,
it’s still not so big, it’s some training activities related for instance counter IED,
it’s helping them in maintenance of equipment, it’s military medicine, and it’s also helping
them to build security and defence institutions, and in some other areas. So we are doing some training activities based
on the requests from the Iraqi government. What we are now discussing is whether we should
scale that up. And again, this is not about NATO going into
any combat role or combat mission in Iraq, but it is about the fact that we had to be
able to make sure that Iraq is stable after ISIS is defeated and therefore we need competent,
capable, well-trained Iraqi forces to make sure that we’re not forced back again into
combat missions or operations in Iraq. So training local forces is one of the best
weapons we have against terrorists, and I strongly believe that NATO can do more when
it comes to training and capacity building because if our neighbours are more stable
we are more secure and one of the best weapons in fighting terrorism. Moderator: Thank you very much. This concludes this press conference. Jens Stoltenberg: Thank you.

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