Secretary General In Washington: NATO Makes America Stronger

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Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington D.C. on Monday (17 June 2024), announcing new defence spending figures and outlining priorities for the upcoming NATO Summit. 

Mr Stoltenberg announced that in 2024, defence spending across European Allies and Canada is up 18 percent, “the biggest increase in decades.” He further confirmed that 23 Allies will meet the target of spending at least two percent of GDP on defence. Over the past four years, the number of Allies hitting that target more than doubled.

Mr Stoltenberg thanked President Biden for his leadership and strong commitment to NATO. He highlighted that NATO is making America stronger by advancing US interests. In response to the changing security landscape, Allies have put forth the most comprehensive defence plans since the Cold War, featuring more forces, capabilities, and investment. On Ukraine, the Secretary General stressed the need to continue to provide long-term support, arguing that the stronger support is for Ukraine, the sooner Russia’s war will end. He welcomed the 10-year bilateral security agreement between the US and Ukraine and said that at the Washington Summit, leaders are expected to agree a greater NATO role in coordinating security assistance and training for Ukraine, as well as a long-term financial pledge. 

Earlier, Mr Stoltenberg delivered a speech at the Wilson Center. He emphasised that keeping Europe safe and NATO strong is in the vital national interest of the United States. “This was true 75 years ago. It is true today and will continue to be the case in the future,” he said. Talking about deterrence and defence, the Secretary General said that European Allies are “doing far more for their collective security.” They are investing a lot more in defence and spending a lot of this money in the US. He pointed out that since 2022, “over two-thirds of European defence acquisitions were made with US firms.” He added: “NATO is good for US security, good for the US industry, and good for US jobs.”

The Secretary General is on a week-long visit to North America. On Tuesday, he will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and engage with Senators. On Wednesday, Mr Stoltenberg will travel to Ottawa to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He will return to Washington D.C. on Thursday to meet with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Members of the U.S. Congress.

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