NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this Friday in an interview with Efe that he is “absolutely convinced that NATO allies will be at Spain’s side if it faces threats and challenges,” when asked if the umbrella NATO security also covers the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa.

“NATO is there to protect and defend all allies against any threat. And we have clear commitments in NATO’s founding treaty. We also have clear definitions of the geographic scope of the alliance. In the end it is a decision of the allies of NATO,” said Stoltenberg, expressing his belief that the allies will come to Spain’s aid.

Ceuta and Melilla are outside the so-called “NATO space”, the Alliance’s radius of action, so in the event that they were attacked or received serious threats, Articles 4 and 5 of the Treaty of Washington, with which the immediate response of all the allies is activated to help the one who has been attacked.

The Norwegian politician, who considered that the allied summit in Madrid, on June 28 and 30, “will be remembered and will be an important event in the history” of NATO, thanked Spain and its government for hosting the meeting in the Spanish capital , as well as Spain’s “strong commitment” to the Atlantic Alliance and its “contribution to common security and collective defense”.

“Spain is really a highly valued ally and I am extremely grateful for that,” Stoltenberg said, stressing the importance of allied unity “in a more dangerous and more competitive world.”

Asked about Spain’s concern for the Madrid summit to address the threats from the southern flank, the Secretary General of the Alliance acknowledged that the allies are now focused on Ukraine and Eastern Europe due to Russia’s aggression, but emphasized that they also there are other threats and instability that come from the South, from North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East and “this worries NATO”.

Some allies, such as Spain and the United Kingdom, defend that the NATO summit, which will be held, should also serve to address the threats that come from the southern flank, an extreme that experts and some personalities believe will be difficult to be addressed in depth. .

Stoltenberg pointed out that the fact that the summit is held in Madrid should serve to “increase our collaboration with our partners in North Africa, Tunisia, but in particular Mauritania”, in order to provide more training, capacity building, help fight against terrorism, border controls, modernize security and defense institutions in the region.

“We know that when our neighbors are more stable, we are safer,” he said.

The Secretary General of NATO indicated that Spain is one of the leading nations in the objective of reinforcing the security and stability of the southern flank, “which is important for the entire Alliance. And this will be one of the main results of the summit in Madrid”.

Stoltenberg announced that there are still decisions to be made ahead of the Madrid summit, in which the Alliance’s new strategic concept will be approved, but “we are on the way to having a historic and transformative summit.”

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