NATO will never agree to withdraw its troops from countries that have joined the Alliance since 1997, because that would make them second-class member states.
This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an interview broadcast today on Canadian television CBC, quoted by TASS.
“NATO allies cannot compromise with the absolutely key principle of European security, and in fact of international security. The fact that each country has the right to choose its own path, decide for itself whether or not to join an alliance like NATO “This is indeed a key principle,” he said.
Of course, we cannot agree that there should be no NATO troops in all those countries that joined the Alliance after 1997 (including Bulgaria). “It will mean that half of our member states will not be able to be protected by NATO troops. Then they will become a kind of second-class member state, which we will never do,” Stoltenberg added.
“However, we are ready to take part in balanced, verifiable measures to reduce non-nuclear weapons, nuclear missiles and many other measures that will be equally positive for both Russia and NATO,” said the Secretary General of the Alliance.
NATO and Russia should sit down at the negotiating table to prevent the use of military force against Ukraine, but it is too early to talk about reducing tensions, Stoltenberg said.
It is too early to talk about this (de-escalation), because we put the proposals on the table for the Russian side to participate in a series of meetings on important issues of European security in the context of the situation in Ukraine and around it, “said the Secretary General. According to him, Russia did not respond during the meeting. “We believe it is important to sit at the negotiating table, especially when tensions are high, to find a political path forward to prevent “Russia’s re-use of military force against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.