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Keynote speech
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

And we should never accept that when independent sovereign nations make independent and sovereign decisions that that's a provocation against anyone else. If we accept that, we actually accept the old idea of spheres of influence, that big countries have the right to decide what other neighbours, smaller nations, can do. And I say that also very much as a Norwegian, because if anyone back in 1949 have asked Joseph Stalin whether he liked or disliked that Norway joined NATO, of course he would have said, `I disliked it.' Actually he didn't. Only this, as he actually . . . the Soviet Union was of the clear opinion that they didn't like a neighbour, as Norway, to join the Alliance. But it is a fundamental right of every nation to decide its own path and NATO enlargement has been a great demonstration of that sovereign right to decide your own path.

Therefore NATO respect the right of every sovereign nation to decide their own destiny without force and without interference, whether they decide to join NATO, or they decide to not join NATO. We believe in a world without spheres of influence. Coming from a small country like Norway, as I just said, this is a fundamental and important principle. In 1989, that was the year when Europe was utterly transformed. It was the most striking change in Euro-Atlantic . . . in the Euro-Atlantic area in our generation: with Communism losing its grip and the ideals of democracy and free market economy taking hold; with nuclear disarmament promising to end a costly and dangerous arms race; and cooperation replacing confrontation. Change came through peaceful protests, through popular movements and through the bravery of countless men and women.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Feb 17th, 2022 at 12:04:53 PM EST

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