Foreign Ministers address Vilnius Summit preparations, bringing Ukraine closer to NATO
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg concluded an informal meeting of Foreign Ministers in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday (1 June 2023), calling it an ''opportunity to discuss key issues as we prepare for our summit in Vilnius in July.''
At the Summit, “we will take decisions to further strengthen our deterrence and defence. Agree a new Defence Investment Pledge, with 2% of GDP on defence as the minimum. And deepen our partnerships with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the Secretary General. He said: “our focus today was on how we can bring Ukraine closer to NATO, where it belongs,” noting that the Alliance is working on a multi-year package of support with robust funding.
Foreign Ministers also discussed upgrading the existing NATO-Ukraine Commission to a new NATO-Ukraine Council. “This would be a significant step, to establish a joint consultative forum with Ukraine, sitting at the table as equals to discuss key issues for our security,” said Mr Stoltenberg. He reiterated that NATO's door remains open, and that decisions on membership are only for Allies and Ukraine to make. "We don’t know when the war ends," he said, "but we must ensure that, when it does, we have credible arrangements in place to guarantee Ukraine’s security in the future, and to break Russia’s cycle of aggression."
The Secretary General said he is working hard to ensure that Sweden’s accession to NATO is completed as soon as possible, and that he will travel to Türkiye in the near future. He also welcomed that Sweden's new anti-terrorism laws have come into force today. “That shows that Sweden has delivered on what they committed to do under the Trilateral Memorandum concluded last year in Madrid. And demonstrates that Sweden’s swift accession will contribute to Alliance security,” he concluded.