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Autumn meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers: Close cooperation in turbulent times

05.12.2017 - Article

On Tuesday (5 December), Sigmar Gabriel travelled to Brussels to discuss how to meet the current challenges with the other NATO foreign Ministers.

Alongside North Korea and Ukraine, cooperation with the EU was on the Agenda.

Crisis concerning North Korea’s nuclear and missile Programme 

Family photo before the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting
Family photo before the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting© Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net
North Korea’s ruthless pursuit of nuclear weapons is currently a source of particular concern. The ongoing North Korean missile and nuclear tests which contravene UN Security Council resolutions do not just threaten the stability of the region but could, given the range in question, also reach other parts of the world. Together with NATO partners, pressure for a political solution must be maintained and increased by tighter sanctions. For Gabriel there is no doubt: “We need to talk about how to deal with the danger of further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. North Korea is unfortunately only one example. But here we need Russia, the United States and China to cooperate. Only those three can effectively put a halt to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Defence capabilities and dialogue

Gabriel meets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Gabriel meets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg© Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, a considerable amount of trust has been lost. “Together with Russia, we want to try to find possibilities for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine to finally bring about a ceasefire,” as Gabriel explained. The Foreign Minister is convinced that we need to maintain dialogue with Russia on this question and others, such as North Korea and Syria. “At the same time, we know that Russia is pursuing a policy which many in NATO find unsettling.” To have more security and transparency, we need defence capabilities and deterrence while offering dialogue.

More cooperation between EU and NATO

NATO will also benefit from the EU’s most recent decisions to strengthen cooperation within Europe on security and defence policy. “That is not directed against NATO and certainly not against the United States but we all know that we will have to take more responsibility for ourselves in the future,” as Foreign Minister Gabriel underscored in Brussels.

Additional content

The North Atlantic Alliance is a central pillar of Germany’s security and defence policy. With its current 29 members, NATO is an important guarantor of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

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