Dialogue on security policy issues
Before the talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Federal Chancellor Merkel stressed “how important the transatlantic alliance is for Germany’s security”. The talks focused on current security policy issues relating to NATO’s strategic concept. This also includes how EU defence policy relates to NATO. “There are no contradictions whatsoever between the EU and NATO – they complement each other,” said Merkel.
Merkel noted that certain developments were worrying, saying that there was a need for discussion in particular with regard to Russia’s actions on the border with Ukraine, as well as developments at Belarus’ borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Video conference on the situation of migrants in Belarus
In this connection, the Federal Chancellor previously held a video conference with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration, António Vitorino, to discuss the situation of migrants in Belarus.
The Federal Chancellor once again stressed the key role of these two organisations when it came to providing humanitarian care, protecting migrants and also ensuring their safe return. She also spoke to Mr. Alexander Lukashenko on the phone earlier in the week to discuss humanitarian solutions. Here the focus was on the people in desperate need and how to provide access for the two aid organisations.
It is a worrying humanitarian situation in which thousands are suffering. In order to bring about improvement, or indeed arrive at a solution, it makes sense to talk to those in Minsk who have the means at their disposal to do something about the situation – even though in this case the ruler's legitimacy is not recognised by EU member states, including Germany.
In addition, the EU has pledged to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants stranded in Belarus. To this end, the EU Commission has released 700,000 euros in emergency aid for humanitarian partners.
Stoltenberg thanks Merkel for her personal commitment
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg thanked Germany for its leadership role within NATO, saying that it was an important alliance partner. He also noted the vital contributions Germany had made, including its help with peacekeeping in Kosovo and its operations in the Aegean Sea in the Mediterranean.