NATO Foreign Ministers wrap up meetings with focus on China and support to Ukraine
NATO foreign ministers wrapped up two days of discussions in Brussels on Wednesday (5 April 2023) with a meeting with Indo-Pacific partners – Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea – and the European Union. “We discussed the global consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He stressed that if President Putin wins in Ukraine, it would send a dangerous message to authoritarian leaders around the world that they can achieve their goals through brute force.
Foreign ministers also addressed China’s growing alignment with Russia. “Allies have been clear that any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, with profound implications,” said the Secretary General. He stressed that as Beijing and Moscow push back against the rules-based international order, it is even more important for NATO Allies and like-minded partners to stand together.
Earlier, Allied foreign ministers addressed threats and challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, including instability, terrorism and the growing activities of Russia and China. They also discussed the importance of increased defence spending. “At the Vilnius Summit, I expect Allies to agree an ambitious new defence investment pledge, with 2% as a floor not a ceiling,” said the Secretary General.
NATO’s support to Ukraine was also a major focus of discussions. The Secretary General welcomed the new commitments made by Allies in the NATO-Ukraine Commission on Tuesday (4 April 2023) and encouraged continued military support for Ukraine. “We agreed to start work on developing a strategic multi-year assistance programme for Ukraine – a clear demonstration that our support will continue for the long-haul,” he said. Mr. Stoltenberg added that this programme will assist Ukraine on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration, because “Ukraine’s future is in the Euro-Atlantic family.”
Ahead of the meetings of Allied foreign ministers, NATO welcomed Finland as its newest member. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto took up Finland’s seat among NATO Allies for the first time on 4 April – the Alliance’s seventy-fourth anniversary.