Oct 28, 2014 6:01 AM
NATO chief: what's needed to improve Russia ties
The Associated Press
BRUSSELS (AP) NATO's new secretary general said Tuesday that only a strong Western alliance can negotiate better ties with Russia.
Jens Stoltenberg said his experience as Norway's prime minister was that robust defense capabilities and a strong trans-Atlantic bond were fundamental to bring about constructive relations with Russia.
In his first policy speech since taking office Oct. 1, Stoltenberg said there was no contradiction between wanting to keep NATO strong and continuing to attempt to engage with the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"NATO is here to stay. Russia is here to stay. So we're going to have some kind of relationship," Stoltenberg said. The question, he said, is "what kind."
Stoltenberg also said he has been in contact with the United Nations to see if there is a "specific role" for NATO in helping combat the spread of the Ebola virus.
He noted that some of the alliance's 28 member states, including the United States and Britain, have dispatched military forces to West Africa, but said it was "too early" to say whether NATO itself should play a role.
The NATO chief spoke in Brussels at an event organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.