Secretary General co-hosts meeting of seven NATO Allies to prepare Vilnius Summit
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined the leaders of seven NATO Allies in The Hague on Tuesday (27 June 2023) to help prepare the Alliance’s Summit in Vilnius. The meeting was co-hosted with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and included Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium, President Gitanas Nausėda of Lithuania, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, President Andrzej Duda of Poland and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania.
Commenting on events in Russia over the last days, the Secretary General said, “these are internal Russian matters, but best is clear is that President Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine has deepened divisions, and created tensions in Russia.” But, he added, “we must not underestimate Russia, so it is even more important that we continue to support Ukraine.”
The Secretary General emphasized that the Summit will send a clear message of commitment to Ukraine. He thanked the Netherlands and other Allies present for providing critical support, including contributions to NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package and training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets. He said that the Vilnius Summit will agree a multi-year programme for Ukraine, and upgrade political ties, bringing Ukraine closer to its rightful place in NATO.
Leaders also addressed NATO’s next steps to strengthen Alliance deterrence and defence, as well as a more ambitious defence investment pledge. “Russia’s war in Ukraine demonstrates that we cannot take peace for granted, and that we must invest more in our defence,” Secretary General Stoltenberg concluded.