NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this during a press conference following the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on March 23 , an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“We are looking into how we can further strengthen the partnership both the political and the practical support. We also welcome the fact that both Ukraine and Georgia are providing support and help to different NATO missions and operations... So the main message, again a part of the NATO 2030 agenda, is how can we further do more, how can we strengthen partnership with neighbors, because it is in our interest that our neighbors are stable and successful, and, both Ukraine and Georgia are actually aspirant countries for NATO membership and we support them also in implementing reforms, so they can move forward on the Euro-Atlantic path,” Stoltenberg stressed.
Answering a question from journalists, the Secretary General noted that in response to Russia's aggressive behavior, NATO had increased its presence in the Black Sea region with three littoral states: Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are NATO members, and then two: Ukraine and Georgia are close NATO partners. “We have increased our presence on land, at sea, in the air, but we have also stepped up the cooperation with close and highly valued partners - Georgia and Ukraine,” he said.
“The best way for us to send a clear message to Russia is partly that we have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collected defense since the end of the Cold War. With new battle groups in the eastern part of the Alliance, with high readiness of our forces, we have increased defence spending, with more exercises, and with stepping up our cooperation with partners like Georgia and Ukraine. I think that sends a very clear message to any potential adversary to NATO,” Stoltenberg emphasized.
A two-day meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs kicked off in Brussels on March 23 to address important challenges facing the Alliance.
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