There is no transcript that includes the question-and-answer session that followed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s comments. But they can be heard here. Excerpts from Stoltenberg’s closing statement are featured below.

That the NATO foreign ministers meeting was held in a member state bordering Belarus and Russia at this critical juncture is significant in its own right; that the main focus of the meeting was on Ukraine and Georgia and their “territorial integrity” is eerily reminiscent of statements and land claims last made in Europe in 1938-1939.

Stoltenberg;s comments about NATO not tolerating any nation establishing and maintaining a sphere of influence approaches the surreal given the Pentagon turning all of Europe except Belarus and Russia into satrapies under the NATO aegis. In denouncing the very prospect of Russia having any influence in nations that border it and that not long ago were part of the same country, Stoltenberg became demonstrably and uncharacteristically condemnatory and bellicose, pounding the podium repeatedly. In general, the NATO secretary general’s statements – diktat, ultimata and threats – over the past few weeks, reaching a crescendo at the Riga meeting, may well be the most inflammatory ones ever made by a NATO leader.

During the session with journalists a comment is made by a reporter that unless Bosnia is press-ganged into NATO “we will have Russian forces there.” Along with similar statements regarding Moldova, the war front is constantly expanding from the Baltic-to-Black Sea front further inland to the Balkans and elsewhere.


Closing press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meetings of NATO Foreign Ministers in Riga, Latvia

We have just concluded a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers.
In our first session, we were joined by Georgia and Ukraine.
We discussed the security situation in the region.

Russia’s continued aggressive and destabilising actions against its neighbours.
And its military build-up in and around Ukraine.

Ministers made clear any future Russian aggression would come at a high price, and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia.

Georgia and Ukraine are long-standing and close NATO partners.
Contributing to our missions and operations.
And aspiring for membership.

Ministers made clear that we stand by our decisions.
Our support for their sovereignty and territorial integrity remains unwavering.
And we remain committed to enhance our support to both countries.

We are already strengthening their capabilities to defend themselves.
Training and exercising together.
Providing maritime support.
And sharing information.

For our final session, we were joined by our partners Finland, Sweden, and by EU High Representative Borrell.

We discussed stability and security in the Western Balkans.

The region has come a long way since the conflicts of the 1990s.
But recently we have seen tensions rise.
Including in Kosovo, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

And we agreed on the importance of our presence.
Including our KFOR mission in Kosovo.
And our offices in Sarajevo and in Belgrade.

Our cooperation with the European Union remains essential.