Thorny Issue: NATO Welcomes Ankara, Washington Dialogue on Syria Solution

Published March 5th, 2019 - 03:31 GMT
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (Twitter)
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (Twitter)

NATO’s chief on Monday hailed dialogue between Ankara and Washington, as well as efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria regarding a possible international observation force in northern Syria.

"We welcome initiatives to try to find a peaceful solution [in northern Syria],” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a round table meeting with a group of female journalists to mark International Women’s Day at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Speaking on a U.S. announcement on the formation of an international observation force in northern Syria after its pullout from the war-torn country, Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s role in the global coalition to defeat Daesh.

"We have provided support as we have a training mission in Iraq and we have provided support with our AWACS [airborne warning and control system] planes to the air operations," said Stoltenberg.

He added that NATO was not present on the ground in Syria, and praised Turkey-U.S. efforts to resolve the conflict.

"Outside the NATO framework, United States, Turkey and also some older NATO allies, we welcome that they are talking [regarding the issue]” he said.


Living in 'unpredictable' world

Stoltenberg stressed the need for defense burden-sharing in the current "unpredictable" world, while politicians prefer to spend on education, infrastructure and health.

"As we all were reducing defense spending after the end of the Cold War when tensions were down, then we now also have to be able to increase the spending when tensions are going up," he said.

He said allies needed to contribute in all three interlinked elements of burden sharing: cash, capabilities and contributions.

NATO intervention in non-NATO territory

Touching on the trans-Atlantic alliance’s operations and crisis management activities beyond the territory of its members aimed at protecting NATO allies and establishing peace in those regions, such as in Yugoslavia, Libya and Afghanistan.

"If our neighbors are more stable, we are more secure," he said, adding that peace in the Balkans and fighting terrorism in Afghanistan were also done to protect NATO allies.

Underlining that it was not easy to decide on the situations requiring intervention he stressed that refraining from intervention also "has a cost".

Stoltenberg recalled the atrocities in Rwanda in the 1990s and the massacres in Srebrenica when the international community did not intervene.

He reiterated that peace could not be guaranteed without investing in security.

Stating that there had been many wars in the history of Europe, he said peace had prevailed through the past 70 years thanks to NATO’s contributions.

"It is a great achievement that so many people are not able to imagine war, but we should not take peace for granted," he said, adding there was a more "blurred line" between peace and war.

He went on to say that cyber, hybrid and terror attacks are now among the "aggressive actions" that threaten the world, even if they are not classified as war.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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