Stoltenberg in Berlin: Russia Should not Decide for Other Countries
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, today (Nov. 7), Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General delivered a keynote speech in Berlin
Russia should not decide for any other country to enter, or not to enter NATO, and the admission of new countries into NATO cannot be valued as a provocation by Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of NATO and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Jens Stoltenberg delivered a keynote speech today (Nov 7) in Berlin at the Körber-Stiftung foundation’s invitation.
Answering the question as to how NATO should act with regard to Russia, and whether the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 forced a reaction to NATO’s idea of a pan-European security system, Stoltenberg said the admission of countries to the Alliance was always the democratic decision of the countries themselves, and should be not decided by any other country.
“So the question was not whether we were going to expand in an aggressive way eastwards. It was a question whether we would like to welcome people, who really backed for the membership in NATO. And just to think about the possibility that we should have told to the people of Latvia, the people of Estonia: ‘Oh, you are neighbors of Russia, and Russia don’t like you to join NATO, so you are not allowed into this club,” Stoltenberg said.
“They say, this is a provocation. That these countries join NATO. Because they are neighbors of Russia. Well, Norway is a neighbor of Russia. Stalin didn’t like that we joined in 1949. I’m very glad that Clement Attlee and Truman said, ‘Stalin should not decide what Noway can do! Norway decides what Noway should do. So we are a member of NATO,'” Stoltenberg said.
“It was not Washington who decided it. It was the people of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, who wanted to join. They had a debate for membership. In Norway, I remember, we had a debate on ‘whether we want to have them?’ But there was no doubt that it was the democratic, strong wishes from the people in the Eastern countries,” Stoltenberg said.
“Even if we are not able to improve the relationship with Russia, we need dialogue with Russia. Especially, when the tensions are high,” he said.
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