Thursday, December 2, 2021

"The situation is worrying" – Merkel and Stoltenberg worried about the Belarus crisis

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Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are meeting for talks in Berlin today. Both are concerned about the tense situation at Europe’s external borders.

The Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg have expressed concern about the tensions on the border with Belarus and between Russia and Ukraine. You have always advocated a dialogue between NATO and Russia, said Merkel on Friday before a meeting with Stoltenberg in Berlin. “Unfortunately, there has been a cooling off at the moment.” There are “great contradictions, but it is always better to talk to one another than not to speak”.

Against the background of the ongoing discussion about the two percent target for Germany’s contribution to NATO, Merkel said that during her term in office Germany had “greatly improved its defense budget, although we still have a large share of the two – Percentage target removed “.

You know that other European countries would comply much better with this. “There will also be a task for the coming federal government,” said Merkel, referring to the ongoing negotiations on a traffic light coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. Overall, however, the cooperation between the German government and NATO has always been constructive and good.

Stoltenberg said Germany had a crucial role in the alliance. “NATO needs a strong Germany, politically and militarily. But that also means that we need a Bundeswehr that has all the capabilities to protect the country.”

One of the key topics of the conversation with Merkel was the situation on the borders with Belarus. “The situation is very worrying,” he said. The Belarusian government uses innocent people and that is cynical and inhumane. NATO stands in full solidarity with all affected allies.

He also mentioned the clear deployment of troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Russia must contribute to the relaxation with transparency. “NATO is monitoring this situation very closely, and we are continuing to provide political and practical support for Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg.

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