NATO is suffering "brain death" with no strategic cooperation among members said French President Emmanuel Macron and stood by it on November 28 after talks with alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg ahead of a meeting outside London next week. At a joint news conference after the talks, Macron said that he stands by raising these ambiguities because he strongly believes that the French Government was irresponsible to keep talking about financial and technical matters since it is under the stake. The French President referred to NATO's failure to address pressing challenges such as relations with Russia, issues of Turkey saying that his statement was a wake-up call and it was necessary. Macron said that it isn't just any country like Russia or China that is a matter of worry but everyone's common enemy is terrorism.
The French President's "brain death" comment came to light after being published in an interview with the UK magazine this month. Allies drew flak warning Macron against undermining the transatlantic alliance. Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that there is a strong need for multilateral institutions like NATO and that he had good and open discussions with Macron. Stoltenberg also praised France's role in fighting Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region of Western Africa, where 13 French soldiers were killed this week when two of their helicopters collided in Mali. Macron informed that he would urge allies to get more involved in the Sahel fight at next week's NATO meeting in Watford, northwest of London. Britain and the US are already contributing to the fight by sending helicopters and security personnel to help France's 4,500-member Barkhane force in West Africa and providing intelligence support respectively. Paris has so far failed to persuade other allies to join the fight.
If Macron requested NATO's help, the alliance would consider the appeal "very seriously", said Stoltenberg on Thursday.
Emmanuel Macron defended his push for a rapprochement with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He argued that the absence of dialogue with Russia has not made the European continent safer. The President also suggested talks with Moscow over its call for a moratorium on deploying mid-range nuclear missiles in Europe. Macron urged European countries to be involved in efforts to forge a new missiles pact, to stop military dependence on the US. Amongst his other statements, Macron also raised the issue of the Turkish offensive against Syria saying that it endangers the actions of the anti-IS coalition of which NATO is a member. He said that Turkey cannot on the one hand claim to be allies and demand solidarity in that regard and on the other hand present the allies with the fait accompli of a military operation that endangers the actions of the anti-IS coalition of which NATO is a member. Responding to Macron's comment, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was Macron who "is sponsoring the terrorist organization, he receives them regularly at the Elysee" presidential palace.