Secretary General Reminds Trump that NATO Members Have ‘a Solemn Commitment to Defend Each Other’

Seretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Feb. 9, 2016 (photo: NATO)

Seretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Feb. 9, 2016I congratulate Donald Trump on his election as the next President of the United States. And I look forward to working with him. And it is important that the transatlantic bond remains strong and we face a challenging security environment, hybrid warfare, cyber attacks and the threat of terrorism. US leadership is as important as ever. Our Alliance has brought together America’s closest friends in times of peace and of conflict for almost 70 years. A strong NATO is good for the United States and it is good for Europe. NATO has responded with determination to the new security situation. But we have more work to do. And I look forward to meeting Mr. Trump soon and to welcome him to Brussels for the NATO Summit next year, to discuss the way forward….

NATO’s security guarantee is Treaty commitment and all allies have made solemn commitment, a solemn commitment to defend each other. And this is something which is absolute and it’s unconditioned. The NATO security guarantees are important for Europe, but they are also important for the United States, so a strong NATO is important for Europe, but it’s also important for the United States and we have to remember that the only time that we have invoked Article 5, our Collective Defense clause, is after an attack on the United States, after 9/11 and thousands of NATO soldiers also from Europe, Canada and also partner nations, have been deployed and have contributed to the efforts of the whole Alliance, to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and, and NATO continues to provide support, not only for the efforts of our mission in Afghanistan, but also provide support to the US-led coalition fighting ISIL. We have just decided to provide, for instance, AWACS surveillance planes as a direct support to the coalition fighting ISIL and we train Iraqi officers. That just underlines that NATO is important, both for collective defense in Europe, but also to provide help and pay and play a key role in the fight against international terrorism, and therefore I’m looking forward to work with President-elect Trump; and I look forward to welcoming him to Brussels at our next Summit next year and also to meet him soon, to discuss the way forward and how we can strengthen the Trans-Atlantic bond in challenging times, with a new and more challenging security environment….

NATO has already decided to step up its efforts to provide support to the coalition fighting ISIL and we decided to maintain our presence in Afghanistan which is our biggest military operation and it’s and we are in Afghanistan to fight terrorism to prevent Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for international terrorists. Then, of course, we will always assess how we can do more both to stabilize our neighbourhood to fight terrorism but also of course provide the necessary collective defense in Europe, making sure that we provide the necessary deterrents. And that’s the reason why I’m looking forward to meet President-elect Trump, to sit down with him and to discuss the way forward and also to welcoming President-elect Trump to our next Summit here in Brussels because that provides the platform that provides the opportunities to sit down with a new US President and discuss how we can all live up to what is our Treaty commitment, to provide collective defense based on the idea of all for one, one for all and to be able to do that we have to respond and to adapt to a more demanding security environment, including hybrid threats, terrorist threats, cyber-attacks and many other kinds of threats and challenges. So this is something we are working on at NATO, we have made important decisions, we are implementing decisions and I congratulate Donald Trump on his election as President and I’m looking forward to work with him on all these important issues and to discuss the way forward when we meet.

Excerpts from remarks by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the media, Nov. 9, 2016.