by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin

  • 08 Jul. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 08 Jul. 2024 17:37

(As delivered)

Thank you so much, Secretary Austin.
Dear Lloyd.
It's great to see you again, great to be back in Pentagon.
And it's great to be here on the eve of the upcoming NATO Summit, where we're going to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the most successful Alliance in history.

And let me start by thanking you for your leadership, your commitment to NATO, to our transatlantic Alliance, but in particular, for your leadership on Ukraine.
Your personal leadership in mobilising all Allies and many partners, more than 50 nations, establishing the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, the Ramstein format has been extremely important.
And it really made a difference and enabled us all to provide unprecedented support to Ukraine.
So this would not have happened without your strong leadership on the support for Ukraine.

We will celebrate our Alliance this week, the 75th anniversary, but we will also make decisions for the future on deterrence and defence and showing that we have the forces, the readiness, the capabilities we need to continue to deter any aggressor and also ensure that Allies continue to carry their fair share of the burden and we have good numbers.
23 Allies are now spending at least 2% of GDP on defence, up from only three Allies when we made the pledge back in 2014.
And I'm optimistic when it comes to that, Allies will continue to increase defence spending because 2% is the minimum.
There is a need to continue to increase defence spending across the Alliance.

In Ukraine, Russia continues its brutal war.
Only today we have seen horrendous missile attacks against Ukrainian cities, killing innocent civilians including children.
I condemn these heinous attacks.

At the Summit, we’ll make decisions to further strengthen our support to Ukraine.
And Russia must understand that they're not able to wait us out.
They’ll need to sit down and accept a solution where Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation.

We’ll also have the leaders of the Asia Pacific partners, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea present at the Summit.
That demonstrates that our security is not regional, our security is global.
And that's clearly demonstrated in the war in Ukraine where Iran, North Korea, China are supporting and enabling Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine.

So I look forward to our conversation, to our meeting.
And thank you so much once again for hosting me and my delegation.