Stoltenberg: NATO Focused on De-Escalation of Tension, Prevention of Incidents in East Med

October 21, 2020

BRUSSELS — Both Greece and Turkey are "two valued allies" and they "contribute to NATO in different ways and we value their contributions," alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers.

At an online press conference on the meetings (Oct. 22-23), Stoltenberg expressed his concern about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where he said "we have seen increased tensions." Responding to questions, he added that "for NATO, it is important to help to reduce tensions, to de-escalate and to avoid any incidents, accidents between allies in the Eastern Mediterranean."

He also reiterated that de-escalation was the purpose the alliance helped "to set up a deconfliction mechanism, where Greece and Turkey reiterate their support to existing procedures, conventions, regulations – regulating behaviour at sea and in the air," also establishing a hotline between the two countries "to use this hotline if needed, 24/7."

These actions and mechanisms have been set up to minimize incindents and accidents and to ensure that "if they happen, [we] do whatever we can to prevent them spiralling out of control" and creating "really dangerous situations."

(ANA-MPA/I. Zarkadoulias) 



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