tv NATO Secretary General Press Conference CSPAN July 11, 2018 1:06pm-1:32pm EDT
great. >> i have to say, i don't know if it's exactly the same in the french, but the fact that knowing you, i just reminded everybody that almost one year ago, you were president, your wife in paris for bastille day. >> beautiful. >> for the fourth of july. and we've worked together for, yes, 12 months now. >> sure. and good decisions. >> we've made some good decisions. >> and we'll continue to work together. >> do you agree that angela merkel is [ inaudible ]? >> i'm glad you -- thank you. thank you very much. >> we work together.
>> the white house says president trump suggested that nato allies commit to spending 4% of gdp on defense. the current goal is 2% by the year 2024. the secretary general was asked about that during today's press conference. >> good evening. the secretary general will update you on the first working session of the nato summit and then he'll be here to take your questions. thank you, general. >> good evening. we have just finished a substantiative meeting of nato 29. we have had discussions. we do have disagreements, but
most importantly, we have decisions that are pushing this alliance forward and making us stronger. in the history of nato, we have had many disagreements. and we have been able to overcome them again and again. because at the end of the day, we all agree that north america and europe are safer together. nato is good for europe and nato is good for north america. so today, we agreed to strengthen nato so deterrents and defense. step up our role in the fight against terrorism, and share the burden of our security more fairly. i really welcome that many leaders have made announcements about new contributions to a whole range of nato missions and initiatives. we agreed a readiness initiative the 430s.
by 2020, we will have 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 combat vessels ready to use within 30 days or less. we agreed a major update of the nato command structure with more than 1,032 personnel and more commands in norfolk, virginia and for support and logistics in germany. these decisions will ensure we can have the right forces in the right place at the right time. with higher readiness and greater ability to reinforce. but many of the challenges we face blur the line between peace, crisis and conflict. so today we set up the new support teams. nato will stand ready to support
allies in areas like cyber defense, counterpropaganda and energy security. we also agreed to set up a new cyber operation center as part of a strengthened command center and agree we can join. in stability in the middle east and north africa, affects nato allies. we are determined to preserve our gains in the fight against isis and prevent them from coming back. so today, as requested by the iraqi government, we launch a new training mission in iraq. and i agree that canada has agreed to lead that in iraq. it will be a non-combat mission of several hundred trainers. we'll also establish professional military schools and academies for the iraqi
forces. today, we also decided to increase our support for jordan and tunisia to further develop the capacities to tackle terrorism. and we declare our hub for the south fully operational. it will help us respond more effectively to regional challenges. in order to be prepared for the challenges we face, we need to invest more and better in defense. we all agree that we do not have fair burden sharing in our alliance today. we all agree that we need more cash in national defense budgets, more modern capabilities, and more circ contributions to missions and operations. the good news is that we are making progress. for a quarter of a century, many of our countries have been cutting billions from their defense budgets. now they're adding billions.
all of our allies increase in defense spending. this year eight of our nations have committed to devote at least 2% of gdp on defense and the majority of our allies have plans to do so by 2024. last year saw the biggest increase in defense spending since the end of the cold war. last year, we also agreed to develop national plans on burden sharing. and based on the national plans of european allies in canada, we expect $266 billion in extra u.s. extra for defense between now and 2024. this is significant, including billions for modern high of end capabilities. we're also stepping up contributions to nato
deployments, so we have turned the tied, but we need to do more. that is about fairness, this is about credibility, and above all, this is about our security in the more unpredictable world. nato's door is and will remain open. we warmly welcomed last month's historic agreement and today we agree to invite the government of sko to start talks. once all national procedures have been completed to finalize the name agreement, the country will join nato as our 30th member. the decisions we have made today show that europe and north america are working together. nato is delivering and we are determined to keep our almost $1
billion citizens safe and secure. with that, i'm ready to take your questions. >> so we'll go to the "wall street journal". >> yeah, hi. robert waller with "the wall street journal." secretary general, there's been some talk generally in the run-up to the summit that despite the challenge of getting to 2%, that target may not be enough. and it should actually perhaps be set higher. what's your view, at this point? would that be helpful or would that be a distraction from getting allies to 2%? >> i think we should first get to 2%. focus on that now. and that is what we have agreed, that's a pledge and the good thing is that we are moving towards that. when we made the pledge back in
2014, it was only three allies spending 2% of gdp on defense. this year, as i said, eight allies have committed and the majority of allies have put forward plans on how to reach 2% within a decade. so my focus is on that. i think you also have to understand that this is really turning the trend. because for decades after the end of the cold war, nato allies were cutting self-defense budgets. and in the 1990s, i was minister of finance in norway, and i was actually very good at cutting defense budgets. but then tensions went down. now tensions are going up, so when we cut defense budgets, when tensions are going down, we have to be able to increase defense budgets. >> secretary general, i saw the declaration and you have mentioned romania is one of the
best contributors for 2% of gdp in defense budget. romania is asking the allies to increase the security in the black sea region. in the black sea region have happened all the military aggressions from russia in the last ten years. in georgia, ukraine, and in crimea. what are the steps that this nato summit took to increase the security in the black sea region? and what will be the role of the new commandment that will be founded in romania, as is mentioned in the declaration? thank you? >> i welcome the increase we have seen in defense spending in romania. that is significant, and as you said, romania is one of the countries that has adopted the budget, which should provide 2% of gdp for defense.
we have designed that we have to follow the implement of what we call tailor for repressents in the black sea region. and we're also developing our maritime capabilities. and in addition to increased presence in the black sea region, with the land forces, air forces, maritime forces, one of the most important things we have done today is to further strengthen our ability to reinforce. to move forces quickly, if needed. so of course, nato's defense and deterrence is not only bauds on the forces we have in the black sea region, the national forces and the nato national forces, but it's also, of course, very dependent upon our ability to reinforce and move forces quickly. and both the increased readiness of our force, the fact that we
have to triple the size of the nato response force. and the fact that we are now addressing military mobility, much more diligent than before, helps us to be able to reinforce more forces into the black see region of romania, quickly if needed. >> associated press, over there? yeah? yeah, thanks. >> secretary general lauren cook from the associated press. a question on iraq, please? you mentioned several hundred trainers. could you just flesh that out a little more? what -- how ambitious you can be in iraq, given the circumstances politically and otherwise. canada said that they are prepared to send up to 250 troops to take part with trainers. is that -- is that kind of the ceiling? is that the limit we're at? and isn't this kind of mission more what burden sharing should be about, rather than the money and investing in the defense
industry? >> burden sharing is about spending. it's about contributions, it's about capabilities. so we speak about the three cs, cash, contributions, and capabilities. and of course, the cash money has to be put into good work. for instance, investing in new capabilities or financing contributions like training missions in iraq. the importance of the training mission in iraq is that we strongly believe that prevention is better than intervention. that we have to make sure that isil isn't able to come back and the best way to do that is to train the iraqis. to build over capacity, and the importance of the nato training mission is that we are going to train the trainers. we are going to train the teachers and the trainers so they can train the iraqi soldiers themselves. build military schools and academies. so this is what we actually now
do in afghanistan, after a big combat operation of many years, we have scaled down our presence in afghanistan from combat to trained assistance. and we have seen, there are many problems in afghanistan, but at least we have seen that we have enabled the afghans to take over responsibility for security in their own country. and that's exactly the same concept would then apply in iraq, different countries, different channels. but the best way to prevent nato and nato allies being forced back into combat operations in iraq, fighting daesh or any other kinds of terrorist groups is to make sure that the iraqi government, the iraqi forces are able to prevent daesh from coming back. >> okay. we'll go to the lady in the front row. >> thank you. mr. secretary general, can we expect that there will be another separate declaration about georgia? and what can you say about the
declaration, which was published a few minutes ago. what it says new about georgia? thank you. >> well, we are planning a new declaration together with georgia. and you can read the declaration when you publish it. but we will end that declaration. our practical support. and welcome both nato allies are providing, more support in different ways to georgia. with the training center, the capacity of supporting, but also rends the significant progress that georgia is making. and the fact that georgia is contributing to many nato missions and operations. i can say more about this when we have published or agreed that the statement tomorrow. >> okay. >> james from british forces tv
and radio. secretary general, since the end of the combat mission in 2014, the continued trained, is the numbers going in the wrong direction? afghan forces getting smaller. nato, step by step, increasing the size of its mission. at what point do you say, this plan isn't working? we need a new plan? >> i will say that the plan is working, meaning that we have been able to hand over responsibility for security in afghanistan to the afghans themselves. and that's a huge difference between what we did before. because then we were in afghanistan with a big combat mission, with more than 100,000 troops. i'm not saying that the situation in afghanistan is easy. there is violence, there is terrorism, there is uncertainty. there are many challenges. and sometimes, also, a lot --
disappointments. but at least we have seen and that we have together with afghans have been able to build a professional, dedicated force of afghan police and soldiers who are able to respond when taliban or terrorist groups conduct attacks. so that's a big achievement. we will continue to provide support to them, train their special operation forces, we're helping them to build their air forces. we'll have president afghani here tomorrow and then we can, of course, discuss how we can develop, adjust, adopt the way we provide support to them. but the idea, the main plan to instead of we conducting big combat operations, we are, instead, helping them to fight terrorism and it's absolutely
the right concept. then our position is conditions-based. i think that's one of the reasons why we have this progress, the efforts to find the political solution. because the reason why we are in afghanistan is to create the conditions for a peaceful negotiated solution. at the end of the day, there's no military solutions to the problems in afghanistan, but to send a message to the taliban that they will not win on the battle field. they have to sit down and negotiate, we need the military presence to send that message to the taliban. >> okay. we'll go to the gentlemen in the second row. >> secretary general, we have really high rating for joining nato in macedonia. about 80% of the population. on the other hand, we still have a high rating goal for, changing of our institutional name. so how to solve this paradox and to join nato.
>> well, that is up to the people of the former yugoslavia public of macedonia to decide. this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. and either they support agreement and then they can join nato or they don't support agreement, but then they will not join nato. they cannot get both. this is no way to join nato without changing the name. so that's in a way the decision that people have to take. so i welcome the agreement. we have clearly stated that we will start -- we have decided today that we will start accession talks. and we have clear stated that all the procedures have been finalized, including a change in the constitution, implementing the name agreement with athens. then the former yugoslavia public of macedonia can become
the 30th country of nato, under its new name, the republic of north macedonia. but it cannot become a member if it doesn't change its name. that's the simple choice. and that's up to the people to make that choice. >> gentlemen in the fifth row? yeah? >> jonathan swann from axios. mr. secretary general, you said earlier today that you were interested to know about the president's -- president trump's upcoming meeting with vladimir putin. did he give you any assurances that they would not make concessions to putin, for example, on crimea? and a second question, in any of your conversations with president trump, has he ever suggested to you that believes the united states has too many troops in europe? thank you. >> we will discuss russia during dinner, but it was also mentioned in my meeting earlier today, my breakfast with
president trump and also mentioned during the discussions today, but russia will be on the topic for the dinner, as of tonight. so, all allies, and this is also stated in the declaration we have agreed today, clearly say that we don't recognize, we are not recognizing -- we don't recognize and we will not recognize the illegal annexation of crimea. so this is a unified position of all allies and it's a position which has triggered the illegal ann annationexation of crimea is on the reasons. it's up wione of the main reasoy we have increased our presence in the baltic state, poland, and the black sea region, to send a
very clear signal that thing that happened in crimea cannot happen against any nato country. we will also continue to provide support to ukraine, political support and practical support and will meet with president poroshenko tomorrow. when it comes to u.s. presence in europe, what we have seen is that the united states has increased the military presence in europe. after the end of the cold war that lost the u.s. battle tank. and now the united states is back with a full armored brigade. and just since president trump became president or took office, u.s. funding for u.s. military presence in europe has been increased by 40%. so actions speaks louder than
word -- than words. i'm absolutely confident about the u.s. commitment to the european security and also the military presence. reuters. >> thanks very much. >> so just a clarification, before we came into the news conference, some of the nato leaders were giving their assessment of the meeting. and we understand that president trump asked nato to raise defend spending to 4%. is this the case? and if so, what's your response? thank you? >> well, i will focus on what we have agreed. and we have agreed that to be committed to the pledge increasing defense spending to 2%. and let's start with that. so we have a way to go and the good news is that it's really started to deliver. i think if we go back to 2014 and ask the leaders, commentators whether european allies would make that much
progress, we have seen from 2014 up to today, i think many people would have doubted that. but the reality is that now, all allies have started to increase. all allies have stopped the cuts, more allies spend 2% of gdp on the fence. and last year we saw the biggest increase ever. on top of that, on the initiative of president trump last may, last year, we agreed to develop national plans as a very powerful tool to make sure allies deliver on the promise to increase defense spending. and the national plans have proven to be exactly the strong and powerful tools we expected them to be. because they, as the majority of our allies, have all the presented plans, showing how they will step by step move to reach the 2% goal. so we are delivering. there are differences and there are discussions.
there are disagreements, but nato has made decisions and we are delivering on the defense pledge. and for me in the long run, substance is what counts and on the substance, nato is delivering. >> thank you very much. that's unfortunately all we have time for, before the leader's dipper. so we will see you again tomorrow. thank you. >> thank you. >> back live in washington now at the environmental protection agency, where acting epa administrator andrew wheeler will speak to staff there. there have reports of a number of resignations since former epa administrator scott pruitt stepped down last week. it should be getting underway shortly l
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