Stoltenberg: Slovakia Can Rely on NATO, We're Defence Alliance

Stoltenberg: Slovakia Can Rely on NATO, We're Defence Alliance
From left, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Ludovit Odor following their meeting at the Government Office on June 6, 2023 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 6 (TASR) - Slovakia can rely on NATO, its forces help protect our airspace and also discourage any other forces from entering the territory of Slovakia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with Slovak Prime Minister Ludovit Odor.
       Stoltenberg arrived in Slovakia for the Bucharest Nine (B9) summit which was held at Bratislava Castle on Tuesday.
       Stoltenberg emphasised that NATO also relies on Slovakia. He welcomes Slovakia's commitment to spend two percent of GDP on defence. "Because better infrastructure and better armament is also a deterrent factor for Russia," he said, adding that NATO isn't part of the war in Ukraine but "in any case we help Ukraine to defend itself, that is part of our charter".
       Stoltenberg also pointed out that NATO protects more than 30 democracies in Europe and North America. "NATO is a defence alliance. We aren't here to provoke conflicts but on the contrary, to prevent war and to protect peace," added the head of the North Atlantic Alliance.
       The NATO secretary general thanked Slovakia for providing important humanitarian and military support. "We must help Ukraine remain a sovereign country in Europe because if President Putin were to win, the message to him or other authoritarian regimes would be that they can use force to achieve their goals and thus violate the borders of neighbouring countries. The world would become more dangerous," he stressed.
       Odor assured the NATO head that the caretaker government doesn't intend to change the course in Slovakia's European or North Atlantic orientation. "We fulfil our obligations in terms of the gradual modernisation of defence but also in terms of our financial obligations. We also welcome the strengthening of the military presence of our allies here," he said, adding that we currently have in Slovakia over 1,300 foreign soldiers, mainly from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the USA.
       The premier emphasised the need for NATO's eastern border to be appropriately secured. They also talked with Stoltenberg about the support for defending Ukraine and the extent to which NATO can contribute to the establishment of lasting peace in Ukraine through joint forces.