NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that support for a parallel, exclusively European mutual defense organization risked dividing and weakening the Atlantic alliance.
In Washington for White House and Pentagon talks, Stoltenberg referred to Paris support for a NATO autonomous European defense group, particularly following the shocking creation last month of AUKUS, a Australian-British-American group focused on Indo-Pacific security. which left out France and NATO as a group.
“I understand that France is disappointed,” Stoltenberg said at a lecture at Georgetown University.
“What I don’t believe in are efforts to try to do something outside of NATO, or compete or duplicate NATO, because NATO remains the cornerstone, the foundation of security European Union and also North American security, ”he declared. .
AUKUS ‘announcement last month, which included Canberra’s cancellation of an order for French diesel submarines for US nuclear submarines, left France and some other European countries feeling as if the NATO alliance had been downgraded in Washington’s priorities.
“Europeans must stop being naive” about geopolitical realities, French President Emmanuel Macron said at the time, while there is increasing talk of a European defense agreement.
Stoltenberg said the defense of Europe goes beyond its borders.
“It’s a question of geography. Turkey to the south, Norway, Iceland to the north and west, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, ”he said.
“They are important for the protection of the defense of the whole of Europe. “
“Any attempt to weaken the transatlantic link by creating alternative structures, conveying the idea that we can go it alone, will not only weaken NATO, but it will divide Europe,” he said.
© 2021 AFP