Secretary General: UK is staunch NATO Ally
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took part in the Service of Commemoration in St Paul's Cathedral in London on Friday (13 March 2015) led by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to honour the sacrifice and contribution of the British military and civilians who helped make Afghanistan a more stable country. Meeting Prime Minister David Cameron at No 10, the Secretary General said: “I am truly grateful for the UK’s sacrifices and your commitment to our mission in Afghanistan over many years,” and thanked the United Kingdom for its significant contributions to the Alliance in general.
Mr Stoltenberg said that NATO is facing new challenges from both the east and the south, "a more aggressive Russia violating international law and destabilising Eastern Ukraine, and violence and turmoil spreading around the Middle East and North Africa." He stressed that the answer to these challenges is a strong Alliance. Describing the UK as "a staunch Ally," the Secretary General said: "we appreciate the leadership that the UK shows in the Alliance, and we count on leadership also in the future."
He thanked the UK for its major contributions to NATO operations, strengthened collective defence in the eastern part of the Alliance, and the offer to be a framework nation for the new very high readiness Spearhead Force brigade. He also commended the UK for continuing to invest in key capabilities and being among those Allies that meet the NATO guideline of spending 2 % of GDP on defence.
The Secretary General is also meeting Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to review progress in the implementation of the important decisions made at the Wales Summit last September.