Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Joint Press Point with the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė

  • 30 May. 2014
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  • Last updated: 30 May. 2014 14:57

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Madam President,

Thank you very much indeed for your kind words.

It is good to be back in Lithuania, as we mark the tenth anniversary of your membership in our Alliance.

I feel really proud and privileged to have received the Order of Vytautas the Great. This order, conferred on so many outstanding men and women, is an important symbol of Lithuania’s national rebirth. This will further strengthen my links with Lithuania and the Lithuanian people and will be a further encouragement to continue to work and promote the values on which we have built our societies: individual liberty, democracy and the rule of law. So once again Madam President, thank you very much.

Today, Lithuania is an active and valued member of NATO.  We are grateful for your contributions to NATO operations, particularly in Afghanistan. For your role in Smart Defence projects, for key capabilities such as surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance.  And for your leadership on energy security.

All these demonstrate your commitment to our shared security. 

Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine is a game changer. What does not change is NATO’s core task: to defend and protect our Allies against attack. And make no mistake: NATO will defend every part of the Alliance. No Ally stands alone. 

That is why we have taken immediate measures to reinforce our defences, with a strong focus on the Baltic region. Polish and British fighter jets are flying out of your Siauliai air base to defend your airspace. We have a fleet of mine hunters off the Baltic Coast. And we just wrapped up a large-scale land exercise– ‘Steadfast Javelin’ – to test our readiness and show our commitment to collective defence.

Every single plane, ship and exercise shows that NATO is serious about defending our Allies.  And today I can announce that every single Ally is contributing in different ways. One for all, all for one. 28 for 28. This is true solidarity in action.

We are now considering long-term measures to enhance collective defence. Including updated defence plans, enhanced exercises, and appropriate deployments. We will do what it takes to live up to our commitments.

Now, more than ever, we see why defence matters. And why every Ally must play its part. I commend Lithuania for the political commitment to gradually increase defence spending over the coming years. I know this is not easy, but it is vital.

So Madam President, I thank you for your strong personal commitment to our Alliance. I congratulate you on your re-election.

And I continue to count on your support as we prepare for our Summit.