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Committed to defend all our allies: NATO secretary-general

IANS 21 Nov 2014, 6:49:59 AM IST
IANS

Riga: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said that the alliance is committed to protect every member country.

Stoltenberg reiterated NATO's commitment following his meeting with Latvian President Andris Berzins Thursday, Xinhua reported, citing the Baltic News Service.

Speaking about the alleged concentration of Russian troops along the NATO borders, Stoltenberg said that the NATO was present in the Baltic states to defend them against all threats, pointing to NATO air policing planes and troops deployed in the region.

"If necessary, we will do everything to defend our allies. This also refers to the Baltic states," he said.

The NATO secretary-general also noted the increased activity of the Russian air force.

This year, NATO jets have reportedly responded 400 times to Russia's military flights near the NATO air space, a rise of more than 50 percent from last year.

To respond to these challenges, the NATO countries were increasing their defence budgets, Stoltenberg said.

He praised Latvia's resolution to increase its defence budget to 2 percent by 2020.

This is Stoltenberg's first visit to Latvia since he assumed office on Oct 1, replacing Anders Fogh Rasmussen.