Secretary General Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Solberg discussed challenges to the east of the Alliance. ”We are concerned about the serious escalation of the fighting in eastern Ukraine,” Mr Stoltenberg said. ”For several months, we have seen the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. We are also seeing a substantial increase in the number of Russian heavy equipment in eastern Ukraine. This does not contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict. So we call on Russia to stop its support for the separatist forces, to respect its international obligations, and to uphold the Minsk agreements.”
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Solberg also reviewed threats to the south of the Alliance, including violence in Iraq and Syria and instability in North Africa. The Secretary General noted that ”terrorism is still a very serious threat to NATO Allies,” highlighting the recent attacks in Paris. He underlined that NATO is playing a role in fighting terrorism, both through its operations, by enhanced information sharing and developing technology to detect explosive devices.
The two leaders also discussed the pledge made at last September’s Wales Summit to invest more in defence, and to spend more effectively. The Secretary General welcomed Norway’s decision to increase its defence spending in 2015, calling it a positive step towards meeting NATO’s benchmark of 2% of GDP.
Mr Stoltenberg thanked Norway for its commitment to NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, and for its contribution to NATO’s collective defence through the deployment of land forces to the Baltic region, the participation in air policing and exercises, as well as in NATO’s interim high-readiness task force. Norway is a ”strong and determined Ally,” the Secretary General said.