with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Allied leaders in the Hague
Prime Minister Rutte, dear Mark,
Thank you for hosting us in The Hague.
And Prime Minister Frederiksen, dear Mette,
Thank you for co-hosting tonight’s very important conversation among several NATO leaders.
In two weeks, Allies will meet for a historic and transformative Summit in Madrid.
And take decisions to keep NATO strong in a more dangerous world.
Tonight we had an excellent discussion on our preparations.
Including on the need to continue our strong support for Ukraine.
Both in the short term.
But also over the longer term.
And I look forward to welcoming President Zelenskyy to address NATO leaders at our Summit in Madrid.
In response to Russia’s invasion, we have reinforced our ability to protect and defend every inch of NATO Allied territory.
In Madrid, we will take the next steps.
And agree a major strengthening of our posture.
Tonight we discussed the need for more robust and combat-ready forward presence.
Even higher readiness.
And more pre-positioned equipment and supplies.
We also addressed the need to invest more in our defence, and to invest more together, to strengthen NATO’s common funding.
In Madrid, we will agree NATO’s next Strategic Concept.
It will assess our changed security environment, and reaffirm our fundamental values and tasks. It will be a blueprint for the Alliance’s future.
Finally, we discussed Finland and Sweden’s historic applications for joining NATO.
Their membership will make them safer.
And our Alliance stronger.
I had constructive talks with President Niinistö and Prime Minster Andersson during my visit to Finland and Sweden earlier this week.
And I welcome the serious steps already taken to address Türkiye’s concerns, including in the fight against the PKK.
Our dialogue continues, to find a united way forward.
So, Mark, Mette,
Thank you again for hosting us tonight.
I look forward to a successful Summit in Madrid.
[Questions and answers by prime ministers]
Reuters: We heard the Polish and Latvian prime ministers say that Ukraine needs more heavy weapons, and today also Ukraine’s President also said they have enough ammo but they need more heavy weapons. I would like to ask Mr Stoltenberg, Mr Rutte and Ms Frederiksen, if they share this standpoint and if Ukraine should have more heavy weapons.
NATO Secretary General: Yes, Ukraine should have more heavy weapons. And NATO Allies and partners have provided heavy weapons for a long time, but they are also stepping up. There will be a meeting tomorrow at the NATO headquarters of the Contact group for support to Ukraine. This is a format that was established at Rammstein Base a couple of months ago and it meets regularly to coordinate efforts by NATO Allies and partners to provide different types of weapons, of military equipment, including heavy weapons to UA. Because they absolutely depend on that to be able to stand up against the brutal Russian invasion. Let me add that NATO Allies have supported Ukraine for many years. Since 2014 NATO Allies have trained and equipped tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and officers, who are now on the frontline fighting the brutal invasion of President Putin and they make a huge difference. But they need to be prepped for the long haul, as there is no way to predict how and when this war will end. So they need to be ready to continue for a long time and we will continue to provide support. And that will be addressed tomorrow in Brussels.
[Other questions and answers]
Question: Mr. Stoltenberg, can this also be seen as a message to the resistance of Turkey, this meeting today?
NATO Secretary General: First of all, I welcome that a group of Allies meets in this way, in the run-up to the Summit, where all 30 Allies will meet. Of course, NATO Allies meet in different formats. Last week there was a meeting in Bucharest of the group called the B-9, nine Eastern Allies, and they met and they discussed the same issues, preparation for the Summit. I welcome the fact that seven allies from different parts of the Alliance meet and address important issues.
My message on Sweden and Finland’s membership is that I strongly welcome that; it will strengthen them, it will strengthen us. At the same time, we have to take seriously those concerns that are raised by President Erdogan, because actually Turkey faces some serious terrorist threats. There is no NATO Ally that has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, and it is important that when Turkey raises these concerns, of course, we have to sit down and, as we always do at NATO when there are differences, discuss and consult, and then find a united way forward.