"We will not turn back the boats" - NATO chief
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says NATO strives for a more constructive relationship with Russia and tells of the new monitoring mission in the Aegean Sea.
We're open for dialogue. NATO does not seek confrontation. We do not want a new Cold War. We continue to strive for a more constructive and more cooperative relationship with Russia. And that's what we do, partly by our military adaptation but partly by keeping channels for political dialogue open, addressing many different issues: the Iran nuclear deal, or trying to reach or implement an agreement on cessation of hostilities in Syria.
Dialogue is not a sign of weakness. Dialogue is a sign of self-confidence. Turkey is the ally, the NATO ally most affected by the crisis, the violence, the turmoil in Syria and Iraq. NATO will not turn back the boats. We will not do policing activities in the Aegean Sea. We will help local authorities, meaning the Turkish coast guard, the Greek coast guard, Frontex, to do their job. We will not do their job for them. Then, all nations are obliged, all vessels, wherever they come from, are obliged to help those people.
And of course that also applies for NATO vessels. Then, we will rescue the people. And what we agreed with Turkey at the defence ministerial meeting, was that if the people rescued by NATO come from Turkey, we can return them to Turkey.
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