NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered an online press conference following a virtual meeting of Allied Defence Ministers.
Ministers discussed NATO’s increasing response to the COVID-19 crisis and how the Alliance continues to deliver a strong deterrence and defence.
“NATO Defence Ministers have just addressed in an extraordinary meeting about the COVID-19 crisis NATO’s response. We have done so by secure video conference.
This was a timely and substantive discussion.
We reviewed our response to the pandemic. And we agreed on the next steps we need to take.
To continue to support each other, and support our partners.
COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge to our nations.
It has a profound impact on our people and our economies.
And it is imposing historic shocks on the international system, which could have long-term consequences.
The crisis has shown that our nations are resilient, and united.
Our militaries are already playing a key role in support of national civilian efforts.
And using NATO mechanisms, Allies have been helping each other to save lives.
NATOs top operational commander, General Wolters, was tasked by foreign ministers two weeks ago to coordinate military support.
And today he updated us on his efforts to
ensure NATO uses its military resources most effectively.
Military forces from across the Alliance have flown more than 100 missions to transport medical personnel, supplies, and treatment capabilities.
Facilitated the construction of 25 field hospitals.
Added more than 25,000 treatment beds.
And over 4,000 military medical personnel have been deployed in support of civilian efforts.
Today, I encouraged all Allies to make their capabilities available so General Wolters can coordinate further support.
And I welcome the additional offers made by ministers today.
All NATO Allies are affected by the pandemic.
But not in the same way at the same time.
So when we effectively coordinate our resources, we make a real difference.
Defence ministers also addressed NATO’s continued deterrence and defence.
The bottom line is that security challenges have not diminished because of COVID-19.
On the contrary.”
Read the full transcript here.