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Antony Blinken and Jens Stoltenberg meet prior to the NATO summit in Washington

CTN News
NATON Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met in the Colin L. Powell Treaty Room on July 9, 2024, prior to NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit. A meeting during which both leaders emphasized the enduring strength of the NATO alliance and outlined key issues and future commitments.

Secretary of State Blinken opened the meeting with a light-hearted reference to Secretary General Stoltenberg’s recent appearance at a Washington Nationals baseball game, underscoring the strong working relationship they have enjoyed over the past three and a half years. Mr. Blinken stressed the importance of NATO’s 75th anniversary and praised Mr. Stoltenberg’s leadership in strengthening and expanding the Alliance.

“NATO is meeting for its 75th anniversary here in Washington… more importantly, it is focusing on today and the days ahead and ensuring that our Alliance continues to do what it has done so successfully for 75 years, which is to provide for the defense of its members,” said Blinken.

Mr. Blinken highlighted NATO’s growth and readiness, attributing its success to committed leadership. He praised the efforts of President Biden and Mr. Stoltenberg, who have brought NATO to its current position of strength.

“Thanks to the Secretary General and his leadership, we have an Alliance that is stronger, broader and more fit for purpose than it has ever been, and it is ready to meet the challenges of the day,” said Mr. Blinken.

Returning to NATO’s historical context, Mr. Blinken underlined the Alliance’s fundamental commitment to collective defense as a means of deterring aggression and preventing war. “The best way to deter aggression and prevent war is precisely this commitment, because a potential aggressor understands that if he attacks one country, he must attack all the others,” Mr. Blinken remarked.

He also emphasized NATO’s role in guaranteeing security and stability, enabling member countries to prosper and build resilient societies.

For his part, Secretary General Stoltenberg expressed his gratitude for Mr. Blinken’s hospitality, and humorously recalled his baseball experience. Turning to more serious matters, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed the importance of the forthcoming summit and the decisions that will shape NATO’s future.

“This summit will be an opportunity to celebrate the most successful Alliance in history, but we will also be taking important decisions for the future on deterrence and defense – on Ukraine, on partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

He underlined the unwavering support of the United States and President Biden, recalling their essential role in uniting the 32 NATO Allies.

Mr. Stoltenberg drew attention to the recent escalation of Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, including a children’s hospital, highlighting the need for increased support for Ukraine.

“We have witnessed further Russian missile attacks against cities, against a children’s hospital – many children and civilians have been killed, demonstrating the brutality of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the importance of our support for Ukraine and respect for the right to self-defense,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

He underlined NATO’s commitment to strengthening deterrence and defense, noting that 23 Allies now invest at least 2% of their GDP in defense, twice as much as four years ago. Mr. Stoltenberg also emphasized efforts to strengthen partnerships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We will do more together in deterrence and defense. Allies are increasing their defense investments: 23 Allies are investing more, or at least 2% of their GDP, in defense,” explained Mr. Stoltenberg.

At the end of the meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to NATO’s principles and the importance of collective defense in ensuring global stability and security.

This crucial discussion paved the way for NATO’s 75th anniversary summit, at which member countries are expected to take crucial decisions on a range of strategic issues, strengthening the Alliance and its ability to meet contemporary challenges.

Almost all the leaders of the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are in Washington for a summit that begins on Tuesday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also attending the event, which is expected to be largely dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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