Opening statement

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with UK Prime Minister David Cameron

  • 19 Jun. 2014
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  • Last updated: 19 Jun. 2014 19:17

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Prime Minister, thank you for a very positive and constructive meeting this afternoon. It's always great to talk to you. And I thank you for your strong personal commitment to our Alliance.

The Wales summit in September will be one of the most important in NATO’s history. And it is fitting that it should take place in the United Kingdom, which plays such a leading role in NATO.

Today, peace and stability are being put to the test. From Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East.

So we must remain ready to deal with any threat to keep our nations safe.

We must reinforce our network our partners and bolster their security forces to help keep the world stable.

And we must reinvest in the vital link between Europe and America. Because in a dangerous world, our Atlantic Alliance of free democracies is indispensable.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has undermined the international order.

NATO has already taken immediate steps to defend Allies. And every NATO member contributes. Britain is playing a major role. On land, at sea and in the air.

In Wales, we will take further measures to to keep our defences strong.

Security has a price. But freedom does not come for free.

Across Europe, we all need to look at what we spend on our defence, and how we spend it. The United Kingdom is leading by example. Despite the financial crisis, you continue to invest 2% of your economic output in defence, and in deployable forces. At our summit in Wales, we must all show a commitment to do more and do better.

And In Wales, we will also turn a new page in our relationship with Afghanistan, as we complete our longest combat mission. I pay tribute to the British forces, who have achieved so much and sacrificed so much.

Despite the challenges, Afghanistan is a very different place from a decade ago. No longer a safe haven for international terrorists. Holding elections secured by the Afghan troops and police whom we trained. And taking responsibility for its own future. In Wales we will make sure that the gains we have made are preserved.

So Prime Minister, I really look forward to a successful Summit in Wales - where we will build NATO’s future.