Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

'No jokes at Nato HQ,' moans new alliance boss

Share this article

'No jokes at Nato HQ,' moans new alliance boss
Jens Stoltenberg on the Skavlan talkshow on Thursday night. Photo: Jonas Eriksson/NRK
07:56 CET+01:00
Jens Stoltenberg has complained that there is “no culture of jokes” within the Nato alliance, where he is now Secretary General. “So now I've stopped joking,” he said.
The former Norwegian Prime Minister made the depressing admission on the Skavlan talkshow on Thursday night, ahead of a broadcast on Friday. 
 
He said the absence of humour in Nato meetings had been one of the things he had found most difficult since he moved to Brussels to take up the position in October. 
 
Stoltenberg told Fredrik Skavlan, the show’s host, that he had no regrets about describing a claim by President Vladimir Putin as “nonsense”, and and warned that any Russian incursion onto Nato territory would be met with force. 
 
He made the statement at the end of January after Putin claimed that there was a Nato legion operating in Ukraine. 
 
"The statement that there is a Nato legion in Ukraine is nonsense. There is no Nato legion," he said. 
 
Asked if the statement was made on impulse or thought through in advance, Stoltenberg said it was both. 
 
“It was a thoughtful impulse action,” he said. “The statement from Putin was completely wrong. Firstly, there are no Nato troops in Ukraine. The foreign troops in Ukraine are Russian and they should get out.” 
 
He said he didn’t believe that Putin was impervious to Western threats. 
 
“We have made it very clear that we will defend all Nato countries. There is a big difference between Russia going into Ukraine or Moldova, and going into a Nato member in the Baltics. I am sure that Russia understands this,” he said. 
 
He said he did not see an “immediate threat” to Nato countries or to the two neutral countries Sweden and Finland. 
 
“We now have the largest Nato armament since the end of the Cold War. It's not because we're going to use it against anyone, but so that no one will try. If we have this deterrence, nobody will dare. We do not want confrontation, but we want to be safe,” he said. 
 
Stoltenberg appeared on the show in Stockholm alongside Norwegian skier Marit Bjørgen, Swedish skier Johan Olsson, the Swedish singer Tove Lo and the Afghan politician Azita Rafaat.
 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

The Swedish university tackling the challenges of tomorrow

Ranked among the world's best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement