National Security Advisers from all NATO Allies and invitee Sweden met in Brussels on Wednesday (7 February 2024) to discuss preparations for the Washington Summit in July, including continued support to Ukraine, strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence, and the growing challenges posed by China.
The Secretary General highlighted that both Europe and North America are making critical contributions to preserve Ukraine’s freedom, and that support to Ukraine is in the security interest of Allies. “A Russian victory would weaken us and embolden not just Moscow, but also China, Iran, and North Korea,” he said, adding that support to Ukraine “is not charity. It is in our own security interest.”
The Secretary General underlined that in a visit to Washington, D.C. last week, he heard “strong support for Ukraine from Congressional leaders – both Republicans and Democrats”. He added: “The debate continues in Washington on funding for a number of important priorities. It is vital that the United States Congress agrees on continued support for Ukraine in the near future, and I count on all Allies to sustain their commitment.”
Mr Stoltenberg also underlined measures to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. Since last July, NATO has agreed industry deals worth 10 billion dollars for ammunition, “including 5.5 billion dollars for 1,000 more Patriot air defence missiles just last month. A deal that will build more production capacity in Europe for this vital capability,” said the Secretary General.
On strengthening global partnerships, the Secretary General stressed that “our competitors are increasingly joining forces and Russia’s increasing cooperation with China, Iran, and North Korea raises serious concerns. So it is even more important that NATO is working more closely with partners like Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.”
The National Security Advisors also condemned Iran’s destabilising role throughout the Middle East. “Attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria against U.S. forces are unacceptable. Iran must rein in its proxies,” Mr Stoltenberg said.