Secretary General thanks Portugal for its contributions to NATO and support for Ukraine
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal, as well as foreign minister João Cravinho and defence minister Helena Carreiras in Lisbon on Thursday (18 May 2023) to discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July.<!IoRangePreExecute>
The Secretary General thanked Portugal for its contribution to NATO, including the Air Policing mission and to the multinational battlegroup in Romania, as well as hosting the NATO Cyber Academy, the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, as well as the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO).
During a press conference with Prime Minister Costa, Mr Stoltenberg also hailed the support provided by Portugal to Ukraine, including the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks and the contribution through NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package. Reiterating that “NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”, the Secretary General stressed that he was confident that “Ukrainian forces have the capabilities they need to retake occupied land.”
He recalled that support from NATO Allies has evolved through the different phases of the conflict, and welcomed recent announcements by Allies on providing cruise missiles and training Ukrainian pilots to use western fighter jets. Previewing the NATO summit in Vilnius, Mr. Stoltenberg said that Allies “will send a strong signal of support for Ukraine” through a strategic multi-year assistance programme enabling Ukraine to transition from Soviet-era to NATO doctrines, equipment and training and achieve interoperability with the Alliance.
The Secretary General mentioned that the Summit would be an opportunity for Allies to address “the continued threat of terrorism and instability in the South”, including “Russia’s destabilising actions in Africa, and now Russia and China are making in-roads in the region.” He stressed that “we must do more to build defence capacity with key partners in the South, such as Tunisia, Mauritania and Jordan.”
Mr. Stoltenberg also emphasized the need to further enhance the resilience of critical undersea and energy infrastructure, recalling that NATO recently created an undersea infrastructure cell to coordinate efforts between NATO Allies, partners, and the private sector, as well as the joint efforts with the European Union.
Welcoming the recent increases in Portugal’s defence spending, the Secretary General called for all Allies to step up. “We face many challenges which no country or continent can tackle alone. So we must take bold decisions. And demonstrate our commitment to the transatlantic bond”, the Secretary General concluded.