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    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds up a ceremonial hammer at the start of a NATO-Georgia defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 16, 2017.

    NATO Secretary Gen. Stoltenberg Gave Speech After Foreign Ministers Meeting

    © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
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    2017

    Jens Stoltenberg addressed member states’ top diplomats at the North Atlantic Council (NAC) summit, which was taking place in Brussels December 4-5. Previously, the NATO Secretary General commented on pressing issues in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the possible termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

    According to the NATO Secretary General, some states in the alliance are planning to raise the issue of the INF Treaty with Russia bilaterally amid the US plans to quit the pact.

    "Several allies announced in the meeting yesterday that they will raise this issue, the INF issue, with Russia bilaterally. We are ready to raise it in NATO-Russia Council again," the NATO chief said at a press conference.

    Stoltenberg reiterated a call for Russia to return to compliance.

    "Russia has the last chance to come into compliance with the INF treaty, but at the same time we have to prepare for the world without the treaty," he noted

    The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said earlier on Wednesday that Russia was opposed to the United States leaving the treaty and prepared to continue dialogue with Washington. Zakharova stressed that US claims about Russia violating the terms of the INF treaty were "speculations."

    Kosovo Military Issue

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo's decision to transform its existing security force into an army was "ill-timed".

    "We discussed Kosovo’s intention to move ahead with the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into an army. Such a move is ill-timed. It goes against the advice of many NATO Allies. And may have serious repercussions for Kosovo’s future Euro-Atlantic integration", Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

    READ MORE: Serbia Will Not Recognise Kosovo Despite New 100% Tariffs — President Vucic

    He reiterated that NATO was supporting the KSF within its current mandate, also urging both Belgrade and Pristina to refrain from any provocative actions.

    Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by over 100 nations. Serbia, however, continues to consider Kosovo its territory.

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    INF Treaty, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, United States, Russia, Brussels
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