LISBON, April 27 (Xinhua) — NATO’S chief Jens Stoltenberg called on Monday for a “comprehensive response” to tackle the migrant crisis at sea on Monday.
“The recent loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea is a tragic consequence of this instability we see. This is a human tragedy. We agree we have to be united to tackling this crisis,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference with Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Rui Machete.
Stoltenberg visited Lisbon for the first time on Monday since he took the helm at the alliance in October last year. His comments come after at least 700 migrants recently drowned outside Libyan waters.
Stoltenberg welcomed the decision by EU leaders to triple funding to help rescue operations and stop smugglers’ boats.
“There is no simple solution posed by migration,” he pointed out, adding that crisis needed a “comprehensive response.”
The former Norwegian premier also praised Portugal for the country’s “reinforcement” of the military alliance’s presence in Eastern Europe.
Stoltenberg added that Portugal would send “ships, a command ship and four fighting F-16 to East Europe” as well as “troops in Lithuanian ground” and pointed out the country’s “important role in Afghanistan and Kosovo.”
“We are facing a dramatically changed security environment in Europe,” he added.
During the press conference, Stoltenberg also highlighted that Portugal was one of the countries hosting the Trident Juncture in autumn, which will showcase NATO and is the biggest exercise since the end of the cold war.
And he referred to Portugal’s collaboration in the Spearhead Force, a new rapid reaction force recently launched by NATO.
Stoltenberg also met with President Anibal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, and Defence Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar on Monday.