NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meets British Prime Minister David Cameron to prepare Wales Summit

  • 19 Jun. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 19 Jun. 2014 19:20

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Wales Summit in September “will be one of the most important in NATO’s history." Visiting London on Thursday (19 June) for meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, he said it was "fitting that the Summit should take place in the United Kingdom, which plays such a leading role in NATO.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and UK Prime Minister David Cameron

Setting out the priorities of the Summit, Mr Fogh Rasmussen said that a time when peace and stability are put to the test from Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East, NATO must remain ready to deal with any threats to keep Allies nations safe, reinforce its network of partners and bolster local security forces to help keep the world stable, and reinvest in the vital link between Europe and America. Because, he said, "in a dangerous world, our Atlantic Alliance of free democracies is indispensable."

The NATO Secretary General said the United Kingdom was leading by example, by playing a major role in strengthened collective defence measures as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. He also stressed Britain's continued investment of 2 percent of GDP in defence and in deployable forces. "Across Europe", he said, "Allies need to look at what they spend on defence and how they spend it."

Mr Fogh Rasmussen paid tribute to British forces for their courage and sacrifice in Afghanistan, highlighting the achievements made over the past decade. “In Wales we will make sure that the gains we have made are preserved,” he said.

The Secretary General also delivered a speech at Chatham House outlining the way ahead for NATO’s future. Asked by media on reports of a renewed Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border, the Secretary General said, “I can confirm that we now see a new Russian military build-up - at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border and we see troop manoeuvres in the neighbourhood of Ukraine. I consider this a very regrettable step backwards." He called on Russia to stop the flow of weapons and arms across the border, stop supporting pro-Russian armed gangs, and stop destabilising Ukraine.