Russia, Middle East high on the agenda as Norway hosts NATO PA talks on international security
Stavanger, 8 October 2015 - Lawmakers from across the NATO Alliance meet this week to discuss the international security situation against a backdrop of heightened tension with Russia following Moscow’s military build-up in Syria and violation of Turkish airspace.
"We must step up – not step down – the pressure on Russia and President Putin. Russia’s actions, be it in Ukraine, in the Middle East or in the High North, are destabilizing and dangerous,” said U.S. Congressman Michael R. Turner, the Assembly's president.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg are scheduled to address the three-day meeting which starts Saturday in Stavanger, the capital of Norway's oil and gas industry and home to the Alliance's Joint Warfare Centre. The Assembly will also hold an exchange on the plight of Syrian refugees with Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council and facilitator of a high-level UN working group for the safety and protection of Syrian civilians.
Taking place half way between NATO’s latest Summit in the United Kingdom and its next Summit in Poland, the NATO PA’s meeting in Stavanger will also allow lawmakers to review progress in adapting NATO defence capabilities in light of new challenges, and opening the Alliance’s door to new members. Furthemore, NATO parliamentarians will discuss the future of security in Afghanistan with their Afghan counterparts and NATO officials.
Among other issues on the agenda for their meeting Stavanger, the lawmakers are expected to stress the security implications of global warming and issue recommendations to NATO governments ahead of the Paris UN Climate Change Conference which opens in December.
This year's session marks 60 years since the NATO PA was founded to link the leadership of the Atlantic Alliance with national parliaments and the citizens they represent. That role is especially significant today.
"The 60th anniversary of the Assembly takes place at a time of serious instability along the borders of NATO," cautioned Øyvind Halleraker, head of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO PA. "It is now more important than ever that we as parliamentarians demonstrate strong transatlantic resolve."
The Stavanger meeting brings together over 243 delegates from the 28 NATO nations - plus 23 associate and observer countries.