Linkevičius: NATO strengthens its readiness to respond to security challenges
On 5 February in Vilnius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller discussed preparations for the upcoming meeting of heads of state and government of NATO member countries. Gottemoeller is visiting Lithuania on the occasion of the first anniversary of the deployment of the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania.
According to Linkevičius, the German-led multinational battalion, which was deployed one year ago, has successfully integrated into the national armed forces and significantly strengthened Lithuania’s security.
“The presence of the battalion ensures that in case of aggression against Lithuania other NATO allies would be involved immediately,” said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
Linkevičius also stressed that due to Russia’s unpredictable behaviour and amassing of military forces on Western borders, the Alliance’s effectiveness remained an important issue. Lithuania expects that the next NATO summit to be held on 11 and 12 July will take solutions that would help implement a more effective deterrence policy.
“It is very important that the NATO decision-making process should be as effective as possible. The Alliance’s leadership and military structure must allow for an urgent switch to large-scale collective defence operations,” said Linkevičius.
The officials also discussed other issues of NATO collective defence and deterrence relevant to Lithuania, including drafting a strategy for the deployment of the rapid reinforcement forces, the development of regional air defence, and the reform of the Alliance’s headquarters.
The U.S. diplomat Gottemoeller has served as the Deputy Secretary General of NATO since October 2016.