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NATO defense ministers discuss long-term effects of COVID-19

October 20, 2021
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks in Brussels on Wednesday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks in Brussels on Wednesday.

BRUSSELS — NATO defense ministers Wednesday held an extraordinary meeting by video conference about the COVID-19 crisis.

"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," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a virtual press conference after the meeting.

He warned, "The geo-political effects of the pandemic could be significant" saying "some may seek to use the economic downturn as an opening to invest in our critical industries and infrastructure which in turn may affect our long-term security".

Stoltenberg said potential adversaries would look to exploit the situation to further their own interests.

"Terrorist groups could be emboldened. The security situation in Afghanistan and Iraq remains fragile. And we see a continued pace of Russian military activity. So, we must maintain our deterrence and defense," he added.

Meetings of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of defense ministers will be held at the NATO Headquarters on Thursday and Friday Oct. 21-22, 2021. The meetings will be in person and will be chaired by the Stoltenberg.

In order to comply with COVID-19 safety measures, a limited number of media representatives will be allowed to cover the event in person. NATO will also facilitate remote coverage and interaction during the Secretary General's press conferences.

The opening remarks of the NAC meetings, as well as the Secretary General's press conference(s), will be broadcast live on the internal closed-circuit television system and can be viewed in the press working area as well as online, on the NATO website. — Agencies


October 20, 2021
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