Brussels, 1 April 2020 (MIA) – A meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Foreign Ministers will be held Thursday via videoconference with North Macedonia participating as full-fledged NATO member, MIA’s Brussels correspondent reported Wednesday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at today’s pre-ministerial online press conference announced the first meeting of NATO foreign ministers that will be held via secure teleconference.
“Tomorrow, we will welcome the Republic of North Macedonia as our thirtieth member at this ministerial. So even in difficult times, we continue to look forward,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO foreign ministers will address the measures that NATO and Allies are taking in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Stoltenberg said that when foreign ministers meet tomorrow, we will look at ways to coordinate our response even closer.
“This is a global health crisis. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims, and with all those who suffer from the pandemic. We thank all those who are on the front line. The remarkable health workers. And also our committed armed forces, who are supporting the civilian effort. NATO is doing its part to help in this common fight against an invisible enemy,” Stoltenberg said.
“Our airlift capabilities have delivered significant amounts of crucial medical equipment. And field hospital tents. Just this morning, a military cargo plane with masks, protective equipment and other medical supplies has taken off from Turkey, heading to Italy and Spain. In response to requests made through NATO’s disaster relief coordination centre. Hospitals with spare capacity in Germany have taken patients from Italy and France,” he said.
“Doctors have travelled from Albania and Poland to help their Italian colleagues. The United States has delivered medical equipment to Italy. And the Czech Republic has donated twenty thousand protective suits to Italy and Spain,” he noted.
“Our newest Ally, North Macedonia, is using a NATO crisis response system to coordinate across government,” Stoltenberg said.
“Across NATO, Allied armed forces are playing a key role in domestic response as well. They are providing vital support to civilian efforts. Including with field hospitals, transport of patients, disinfection of public areas, and securing border crossings,” he underlined.
“So, when Foreign Ministers meet tomorrow, we will look at ways to coordinate our response even closer,” Stoltenberg said, adding “We will consider how to use NATO military capabilities and structures even more effectively to step up and to speed up our support to national efforts against COVID-19. Because we are in this crisis together. And when we respond together, our response is more effective. NATO’s core task is to provide security and defence for almost 1 billion people. So our primary objective is to ensure that this health crisis does not become a security crisis.”
Tomorrow, ministers will also discuss NATO’s role in the fight against international terrorism, peace efforts in Afghanistan and aid to Ukraine and Georgia.