Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavský at the Informal Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers’ Session

  • 31 May. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 31 May. 2024 10:31

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: 
Good morning. Welcome to all to this informal NATO foreign ministerial meeting. It's great to see you all. 
We will address many important issues today: the preparations for the Washington Summit, support to Ukraine, the terms of defence, our partnership with our Asia Pacific partners.  But first of all, we will be welcomed by the host, Foreign Minister Lipavskýf, thank you so much for hosting us. Many thanks to you, to the Czech government for hosting this event, and also the beautiful dinner yesterday. So Jan, please, you have the floor.

Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský:
Dear Secretary General Jens, dear ministers, dear colleagues, warm welcome to the Černín Palace, the seat of the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
I would like to begin with a sentence that this is the place where the Warsaw Pact, the very symbol of the Cold War, was dissolved. And I'm honoured that Prague has picked up the baton from Berlin and Oslo, and can host our informal meeting at such an important moment. 
For Prague it has been 22 years since the last high-level NATO event was held in Czechia. Since then, many Allies have joined the North Atlantic family and we must ensure that NATO's doors remain open for new members, including, and especially for, Ukraine. 
As mentioned by Jens, our main objective today is to prepare for the upcoming Anniversary Summit. I expect the Washington Summit to demonstrate the strength of our Alliances and transatlantic bond. In particular, I would like to highlight two important areas. Firstly, the Summit should deliver on aligned deterrence and defence posture, including our ability to effectively counter hybrid threats from Russia and elsewhere, and to help us formulate a credible strategy to the containment of Russia. Because Russia is a threat not only to Ukraine, but to all of us. Secondly, we must identify our support to Ukraine, both immediate—and here I express my gratitude to all that have supported our ammunition initiative—as well as in the mid and long term. And I believe that NATO as such has also a role to play. 
Dear colleagues, dear Jens, thank you for coming and let's make the most of this inform opportunity. Thank you very much. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
Thank you so much Jan. Thank you again for hosting us. This ends the public part of the meeting, many thanks to the media for joining us at the top of the meeting.