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September 18, 2019

NATO’s Vershbow: NATO has tools to secure stability of its neighbourhoods, but investment is needed

Deputy NATO Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said Friday in Bucharest that NATO has many tools that can help secure stability in its neighbourhoods, but far more should be invested, an important topic to be discussed at the incoming summit meeting in Warsaw.

“If we want our Alliance to be secure then our neighbourhoods must be stable. And that, currently, is one thing that they are not. We need to invest far more in our partnerships – to support our neighbours’ ability to better defend themselves, to contain extremist forces, and to bring stability to their regions. (…) We must help our neighbours in the East who are the targets of Russian interference and intimidation, so that they can stand their ground and preserve their sovereignty. And we must help our partners in the South to combat extremism, to fight ISIL and to bring some degree of calm to the explosive atmosphere of the Middle East and North Africa. NATO has many tools which can help. Our experience with helping nations to reform their security sectors and to build up their defence capacity have the potential to make a huge difference. But for that to happen we need to invest far more in these programs than we do now,” Vershbow told an Aspen Romania Institute forum in Bucharest.

He also mentioned NATO’s support for Moldova, pointing to Moldova’s fundamental defence reforms and a strategic assessment of the threats to its national security, which “will provide a basis for identifying the capabilities the Moldovans need to ensure their security within their limited resources.”

On the other hand, Vershbow said the Warsaw Summit will be an opportunity to take stock of Russia’s actions, and to assess the future of the NATO-Russia relationship, “including what we can do to restore predictability and transparency at a time when Russia seems more interested in shocking, surprising and intimidating than in calming and building confidence.”

“We will need to ask hard questions about what it takes to deter an assertive Russia that seeks to go back to the days of spheres of influence, when great powers claimed the right to change borders by force and to limit the sovereign choices of their neighbours. (…) To effectively deter a revanchist Russia we will need to assess how NATO can reinforce our Eastern Allies in the face of Russian ‘anti-access and area denial’ tactics. This is especially important in the Baltics and here in the Black Sea region. Russia’s annexation and militarisation of the Crimean peninsula has changed the game in the Black Sea, with long-term strategic implications. We are currently looking closely at what those implications are and how we can mitigate against them,” added Vershbow, according to Agerpres.

Interior Minister Oprea welcomes NATO’s Vershbow; discusses summit preparations, national security

Romania’s Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea on Friday welcomed visiting NATO Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow to discuss national security matters in the current general context, as well as preparations for a NATO Eastern Flank summit meeting to be hosted by Romania this November.

The Interior Ministry (MAI) reports in a press statement that Oprea said Romania will continue to provide security and stability in the region, including by developing its role as an active and trustful NATO strategic partner. He also gave assurances that Romanian will continue its excellent cooperation with NATO, including in international missions and civilian emergencies.

”Romania continues to be a trustful partner inside NATO and also to work alongside with the allies in missions in various theaters of operations. Romania is also contributing to the development of new policies, concepts and strategies to improve the NATO operational capabilities via the HUMINT excellence centre in Oradea and the NATO Force Integration unit recently established in Bucharest,” said Oprea.

MAI quotes Vershbow as having underscored the role and importance of Romanian troops in Afghanistan, stressing that Romania is a pole of stability in its region.

At the end of their meeting, the two officials reiterated readiness to deepen and intensify cooperation between Romania and NATO for consolidated security and the defence of NATO member states in the region.

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