by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden at the White House

  • 13 Jun. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 13 Jun. 2023 22:13

(As delivered)

US President Joe Biden:  Thank you Secretary General, good to see you again, and the I apologize for having to reschedule yesterday, I had a lot of fun yesterday afternoon. We had... I had a big problem I took care of. And thank you for accommodating me. 

And your leadership of the Alliance went through a really significant period [...] in terms of how you dealt with NATO's relationship with Ukraine. And, you know, I think you've done an incredible job. You saw each other last in Warsaw. And I think you said and I agree that NATO allies have never been more united. We both worked like hell to make sure that happened, and so far, so good. And I think it's, and we see our joy and strength and modernizing the relationship within NATO, as well as providing assistance to, defence capabilities to Ukraine. 

And we have seen Finland's recent accession to NATO. I remember you and I talking, I think I said to you, I know I said to others, that Putin is making a mistake, you know, looking for the finlandization of NATO, he got the “NATO-lisation” of Finland, and hopefully Sweden very shortly. 

And your friendship and leadership has meant a great deal. We're strengthened, we, we also we've strengthened NATO's Eastern flank, made it clear that we'll defend every inch of NATO territory. 

I say it again, the commitment the United States in NATO's Article 5 is rock solid. And at our summit in Lithuania next month, we're going to be building on that momentum from working to ensure that Allies spend enough on defence, 2% not just as a height but that's the bottom line. And NATO's engagements as well - as you know, I've kept you completely informed of my discussions with Japan and South Korea ..  in the Pacific. I think it's the first time ever we've had a major Pacific power engaged in dealing with aggression in Europe. And so I want to thank you, again, Secretary General, for your partnership, your friendship, and most importantly, your leadership. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: President Biden, dear Joe, thank you so much for the warm words. And thank you for taking the time to meet me once again  here at the White House. It's really a great honor and pleasure to meet you. But most of all, thank you for your leadership, for your strong personal commitment to the transatlantic bond, to Europe and North America standing together. And let me also thank the US Congress and the people of America for the strong support to Ukraine. And you just made a new announcement of additional US support. And that is something which is very much welcomed. 

European Allies and Canada are also doing their part, with tens of billions in military and economic support for Ukraine. And the support that we are providing together to Ukraine is now making a difference on the battlefield as we speak, because the offensive is launched and Ukrainians are making progress and making advances. It's still early days. But what we do know is that the more land Ukrainians are able to liberate, the stronger hand they will have at the negotiating table. And also, the more likely it will be that President Putin at some stage will understand that he will never win this war, or aggression on the battlefield. Then I think we also had realized that Russia was brutally nation of Ukraine was not only an attack on Ukraine, but also on our core values, and on free people everywhere. And therefore, President Putin must not win this war, because that will not only be a tragedy for Ukrainians, but also make the world more dangerous. It will send a message to authoritarian leaders all over the world, also in China, that when they use military force, they get what they want. And we will then become more vulnerable. So it's our security interest to support Ukraine. 

And that's exactly what we will do when we meet, all the NATO leaders, at the summit in Vilnius next month. We will agree to sustain and step up our support Ukraine, further strengthen our deterrence and defence, including by new commitment to invest more in defence. And I expect Allies to agree that 2% of GDP for defence has to be a minimum of what Allies have to invest in our shared security. We will strengthen our partnership with our Indo-Pacific partners and then, of course, we all look forward to welcoming Sweden as a fully-fledged member of the Alliance as soon as possible. So once again, Mr. President, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your strong commitment and, and I look forward to welcome you at the NATO summit in Vilnius.

US President Joe Biden: [Inaudible]  we've got beyond NATO, we've got 37, well, a total 40 nations that are committed to it, to the independence of Ukraine, and it gets a real clear message. So, God willing, we are going to keep this unity up and thank you for your leadership.