by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: Secretary Blinken, Tony, welcome back to NATO. It's always a pleasure to have you here, not least because of your strong personal commitment to NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance.
Today and tomorrow, NATO Foreign Minister will address many different pressing security issues, including the Middle East, and I welcome the extension of the pause of hostilities in Gaza. This has allowed for a much needed relief for the people of Gaza and also the release of more hostages. And let me thank you, Secretary Blinken, for your personal efforts to ensure that this happened and that agreement was reached. Ukraine will be high on the agenda. We see continued Russian attacks. intense fighting continues along the frontline. And that just makes it even more important that NATO Allies continue to support Ukraine.
And I praise the United States for the leadership, for the critical military equipment the United States are delivering to Ukraine. But let me highlight that this is actually a joint effort by the United States, Canada and European Allies. The European Allies and Canada provide almost 50% of the military support. So this is actually something we do together as Allies on both sides of the Atlantic.
We will address China, the Western Balkans, and also how to work to ensure stability in our Southern neighbourhood.
Many important issues. Always great to have you here and look forward to the meeting.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Thank you very, very much. It's always very good to be back in Belgium, in Brussels, Here at NATO. It's almost become like a second home over the last three years. But I think it's evidence of the fact that what we're doing with the NATO Alliance is more important than it's ever been.
And you've seen over the last three years, NATO stepping up in very important ways to deal with the challenges that that we face. And that we're facing together. We will be strongly reaffirming our support for Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's war of aggression. We will be looking to the summit next year in Washington to celebrate the 75th anniversary of NATO, but not just celebrate that anniversary continue, to carry the Alliance forward, including with the commitments that its members are making to our collective defence. We have a lot of work that we'll be doing, as you said as well, on the Western Balkans, with our partners for NATO from around the world, including the Asia-Pacific, and of course we will be talking about the crisis in Gaza and the broader Middle East.
Like you, Jens, I'm very pleased to see hostages returning home, coming back to be with their loved ones. And we're determined to continue that for as long as possible to bring as many people home as we possibly can. And that continues. So we have a lot a lot on the agenda. But I have to say this: everything that we've been able to do with the NATO Alliance over the last few years, strengthening the Alliance, making it fit for purpose for the challenges that we're going to be facing in the years ahead, dealing with the Russian aggression against Ukraine, so many other things, none of that, none of that would have happened without the leadership of Jens Stoltenberg.
We are grateful to you grateful for that extraordinary leadership at a moment where it counted more than ever, so it's good to be here. Good to work with you as always. Thank you.