by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and/or Government
We have just had a good and important discussion with the Leaders of the NATO Allied countries. We have marked the anniversary of our Alliance. Which has guaranteed peace and security for all Allies for seventy years. And we have looked to the future. Our meeting has once again demonstrated that NATO remains the only place where Europe and North America discuss, decide and act every day together. On strategic issues that concern our shared security.
And all leaders were very clear. We stand together all for one, and one for all. Our commitment to Article 5, the collective defence clause of our Alliance, is ironclad. Today, we took a wide range of important decisions.
We have increased the readiness of our forces. I can announce that we have delivered on the NATO Readiness Initiative. Allies have committed 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 combat ships, available to NATO within 30 days.
We have declared space as the fifth operational domain for NATO. Alongside land, air, sea, and cyber.
We have also agreed on a new action plan to step up our efforts in the fight against terrorism. All Allies remain committed to the fight against ISIS and our training mission in Iraq and the training mission in Afghanistan.
Today, leaders committed to ensuring the security of our telecommunications infrastructure - including 5G. We agreed to rely only on secure and resilient systems.
Allies further recognised the unprecedented progress we are making to achieve fairer burden-sharing.
This is the fifth year of rising defence investment.
In fact, European Allies and Canada have added 130 billion US dollars. And by the end of 2024, that figure will rise to 400 billion US dollars.
This is unprecedented. And it’s making NATO stronger.
But leaders agreed that we must, and will, do more.
Leaders also took a range of other decisions on other important issues for our Alliance;
To enhance the protection of our energy infrastructure,
On how to ensure our technological edge in the face of emerging and disruptive technologies,
And to step up our response to hybrid threats.
We also had a substantive discussion about Russia, and the future of arms control.
We are committed to strong deterrence and defence, while remaining open to meaningful dialogue with Russia. NATO is responding to Russia’s deployment of intermediate-range, nuclear capable missiles in a defensive and coordinated way. And we remain committed to strengthening effective arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
For the first time, we addressed the rise of China - both the challenges and the opportunities it poses. And the implications for our security. Leaders agreed we need to address this together as an Alliance. And that we must find ways to encourage China to participate in arms control arrangements.
As the world changes, NATO will continue to change.
NATO is strong, and our accomplishments over the past few years to adapt to a changing security environment are substantial.
On that basis, we have agreed today to initiate a reflection process under my leadership to further strengthen the political dimension of NATO.
I want to thank the United Kingdom for hosting this meeting of NATO leaders with such wonderful hospitality. We marked the achievements of our first seventy years. And set the course for the years to come. NATO leaders have decided to meet again in 2021.And with that, I am happy to take your questions.