Stoltenberg: Serbia alone decides who it wants to work with

Jens Stoltenberg; Photo: NATO

WASHINGTON – Serbia alone decides who it cooperates with and we cannot impose membership, said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, in an interview with Voice of America.

Answering a question about China’s influence on Europe and whether it poses a threat to NATO, he said that NATO has developed guidelines for resilience to protect civilian infrastructure.

“Recently we updated our basic requirements for the telecommunications to include 5G, which is one of the areas where we really are seeing big changes and where societies will be completely transformed by the move from 4G to 5G.
And that’s a way for us to make sure that we have functioning safe and secure critical infrastructure in peace, in crisis, and of course also in conflict”, said Stoltenberg.

He commented on how this could affect potential members, pointing out that one of the preconditions for accession is that candidate must have a safe and secure way of communication which applies to North Macedonia as a potential member.

“They do not apply for nonmembers. We cannot force nonmembers. We can ask them and again, we can advise them and zone. It is for Serbia to decide what kind of telecommunications they have and how they organize their civilian infrastructure”, said Stoltenberg and added that he welcomes the fact that Serbia is a close partner of NATO.

He also explained why NATO has an open-door policy towards small countries, noting that they make the environment more stable and secure. He stressed that NATO’s greatest success was the fact that it allowed the Cold War to end without “shot being fired” which created the conditions for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For him, the unpredictability is one of the biggest challenges for NATO today.

“During the Cold War, it was very clear what was the challenge. Now there are so many that are more different threats and challenges. It is hard to predict. It is hard to foresee the unforeseen. However, we have to be prepared for the unforeseen”, stated Stoltenberg for Voice of America.

Jens Stoltenberg is on the official visit to Washington since 12 November and will meet US President Donald Trump and other officials.