Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers session with Sweden

  • 05 Apr. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Apr. 2023 09:00

(As delivered)

So, welcome, and good morning to all of you. And welcome to this meeting of the North Atlantic Council.

Russia's war against Ukraine grinds on. President Putin is not preparing for peace, he is preparing for more war. As we discussed yesterday with Minister Kuleba, NATO Allies are united in our commitment to sustain and step up our support. We must give Ukraine all it needs on the battlefield to prevail as a sovereign and independent nation. NATO will also continue to support other Partners that face pressure from Russia, including Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We will discuss how to counter other threats and challenges facing our Alliance - including those emanating from the South - and how to deal with the growing strategic competition, including China's increasing alignment with Russia.

Finally, we will discuss defence spending. In a contested and dangerous world, we cannot take our security for granted, so we must invest more in our defence. At the Vilnius Summit, I expect Allies to agree an ambitious new Defence Investment Pledge, with 2% of GDP as a minimum to be invested in defence.

I thank the media for joining us at the top of the meeting, and we’ll continue in just a moment. Thank you so much.