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NATO Secretary General commends the Netherlands for its active role in NATO

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

24 Nov. 2014

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked the Dutch government for its continuing support to NATO operations in talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on Monday (24 November). "The Netherlands has been for many years a valuable and reliable Ally", the Secretary General said. "You have shown your commitment by contributing troops to our mission in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Fighter jets over the Baltic States. Patriot batteries in Turkey. And offering troops to our 'Spearhead Force' next year."

The Secretary General offered his sincerest condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims of flight MH-17. "I know all too well the impact such terrible events have. And how long it takes to grieve and to heal." Mr Stoltenberg said. "It is important that the ongoing investigation sheds full light on what happened to flight MH-17. Those responsible should be held accountable and brought to justice as soon as possible."

Secretary General Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Rutte also discussed security risks on NATO's eastern and southern flank. "Russia continues to destabilise Ukraine," Mr Stoltenberg said. "We call on Russia to pull back all its forces from Eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk Agreements." Turning to the South, the Secretary General said that ISIL terrorists are carrying out horrific acts and he warned that they could export their terror beyond the Middle East. To respond to the security threats on NATO's borders Mr Stoltenberg underscored the importance of implementing the Readiness Action Plan agreed at the Wales Summit in full and on time. "This requires investment. It is crucial that all Allies stop the cuts to their defence budgets, as we pledged in Wales. And start increasing defence investments," he said.

Prior to the meeting with the Prime Minister, the Secretary General met with His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Early on Monday, Mr Stoltenberg delivered a keynote speech at the 60th Plenary Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in The Hague.

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