by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the B9 Summit in Riga, Latvia

  • 11 Jun. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 11 Jun. 2024 11:21

(As delivered)

Thank you so much President Rinkēvičs, dear Edgards. It's great to be back in Riga and great to again, meet with you. And thank you for hosting this B9 Summit here in Riga. Many times also to the co-chairs, President Duda and President Iohannis, it's also great to be able to sit down with you again. 

And then let me highlight, or underline, the importance of this platform, the B9, as a platform to address common security challenges and also how to further strengthen NATO's Eastern flank. And of course, it is even more so an important platform with now also Finland and Sweden present around the table as full members of the Alliance. 

The meeting today provides us with an excellent opportunity to address the issues which are important as we prepare for the upcoming NATO Summit in Washington in July. To address how to further bolster our deterrence and defence. All of the Allies in the B9 framework, and also Finland and Sweden, are playing a key role in providing deterrence and defence. The B9 countries host NATO's Battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance and you contribute to our collective defence in many different ways. And we are extremely grateful for that. 

The NATO Summit will then make important decisions on how to further strengthen our deterrence and defence and how to continue to step up when it comes to defence spending. Also, an area where the countries in this room actually are leading by example, all spending at least 2% of GDP on defence. 

We will also address how to put our support for Ukraine on a firmer footing. Ukraine needs long term support. They need a predictability, accountability. So therefore I expect that NATO leaders, when they meet in July, we will agree that NATO should lead the coordination effort of providing security assistance and training, and also agree a long term financial commitment to Ukraine. So once again, thank you so much for hosting the meeting. Thank you for inviting me. I look forward to the discussions.