by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the visit with the British Prime Minister to Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (SHAPE)
Good afternoon. The Prime Minister and I have just met with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe who has briefed us on his assessment of recent events in Ukraine.
We are at a crucial point in history: As we remember the devastation of World War 1, our peace and security are once again being tested. Now by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. And the criminal downing of flight MH17 has made clear that a conflict in one part of Europe can have tragic consequences around the world.
NATO stands determined to defend all Allies against any threat.
We have taken immediate measures to strengthen our collective defence in the air, at sea, and on land.
I thank all the servicemen and women of this headquarters for their dedication. And Prime Minister, I thank the United Kingdom for your significant contribution.
We are now paving the way for important decisions at our Summit in Wales in early September. The Summit will be a turning-point.
We will adopt an action plan to boost our readiness in a changed world. We are looking closely at the forces we need, where they should be deployed, how fast they should be able to respond and how to reinforce them.
We are reviewing our defence plans. Developing a new exercise schedule. And considering ways to strengthen the NATO Response Force.
So that we can respond quickly to any challenge, old or new. East or South.
These are ambitious plans. And we need the resources to match. At the Summit, I look to a strong commitment from Allies to invest more in defence as our economies recover.
So Prime Minister, we have still work to do. But our Summit will demonstrate very clearly that NATO remains robust, ready and resolute.