NATO chief hails historic summit of Korean leaders

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday welcomed the “historic meeting on the Korean Peninsula”, noting that the alliance “fully supports a political solution to the tensions in the region”.

Earlier, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to “complete denuclearization” and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula following a historic bilateral summit between two leaders.

“I welcome the meeting today between the two leaders, the progress they have made, and the commitment they have shown to resolving their differences peacefully,” Stoltenberg said in a news conference following the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

The NATO chief also said the agenda of the first session of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting was related to Russia and the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

He emphasized that all NATO allies condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime, adding that the alliance continues to support a political solution under UN leadership in Syria.

He mentioned "some differences" between NATO allies on the situation in northern Syria. However, he said while NATO is not present on the ground in northern Syria, the alliance supports the efforts of the global coalition and some NATO allies.

He also touched upon Turkey-U.S. relations underlining recent close contact between the two NATO allies.

“It was clearly stated during my visit in Ankara that there is now close contact between the United States and Turkey on how to move forward in a way which is as coordinated as possible to avoid any unnecessary problems in northern Syria,” Stoltenberg said referring to his visit to the capital on April 16.

On Turkey’s purchase of the Russian air defense system, S-400, Stoltenberg said: “It is a national decision by any NATO ally to decide what kind of equipment they acquire.

“What matters for NATO is of course the question of whether it's going to be integrated into the NATO air defense system.”

NATO chief said he also discussed with Turkish officials in Ankara about the U.S. statements on possible sanctions against Turkey.

On NATO-Russia relations, Stoltenberg said the alliance wants to improve ties with Russia.

“We are in a situation where we are not being before because we're not in the old Cold War but we are neither in the strategic partnership we try to build after the Cold War.

“So, this is something new and, therefore, it is even more important that we are able to combine both to be firm to be strong and to have a clear message and convey unity in our approach to Russia but at the same time keep the chance for dialogue open.”

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