NATO chief says terrorism must be fought in different ways

delegates talking (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, welcomes NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, with military honors for a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.

There are many different types of terror and democratic nations must use many defenses against them, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Berlin on January 14.

The secretary-general met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a week after terrorists struck in the heart of Paris. “Those terrorist attacks — they were attacks on innocent people, but also attacks on the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression and our open free societies,” Stoltenberg said. “I think it just reminds us of the importance of security and defense. And we have to fight terror in many different ways. It’s about attitudes; it’s about defending our values.”

The scene of people around the world standing with the French people is encouraging to the NATO chief, and he said the alliance will continue its work against terror. “We have stepped up our information exchange related to foreign fighters,” he said. “We know that this is posing a threat to our societies, and we have agreed that we shall cooperate even closer when it comes to fighting the threat related to returning foreign fighters.”

NATO is also developing technologies to be able to protect member states against attacks, especially related to explosives.

The alliance also works with partner countries “to enable them to be more able to fight terror in their countries and in their regions,” he said.

Allied militaries worked closely for more than a decade in Afghanistan, and that is providing a solid basis for cooperation in the fight against terrorists, he said.

The German chancellor and NATO leaders also discussed the situation in Ukraine. “We see that international law is violated, and that the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine is not respected,” Stoltenberg said. “We call on Russia to respect the Minsk agreements, to use all its influence on the separatists to make them respect the ceasefire, and to withdraw the support for the separatists.”

Stoltenberg stressed the alliance does not seek confrontation with Russia. “NATO aspires for a more constructive and cooperative relationship with Russia,” he said. “But to be able to establish that, Russia must want it too.”

Russia must respect the core values and the rule-based system that NATO nations have strived to establish in Europe, he said.