Brussels 12 July 2018
Following NATO leaders meeting today on Thursday 12th of July 2018, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg address at the press conference. The Press Conference was also translated in Dari & Pushto (Afghanistan / Pakistan) languages in addition to French :
We have had a very good summit.
Over the past two days, we have taken major decisions to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence.
To step up in the fight against terrorism. And to ensure fair burden-sharing among all Allies.
I told you earlier this week that I expected frank discussions on burden-sharing. And that’s exactly what we had.
That is what we do among friends and Allies.
All Allies have heard President Trump’s message loud and clear. We understand that this American president is very serious about defence spending. And this is having a clear impact.
After years of decline, when Allies were cutting billions, now they are adding billions. Before, the trend was down.
Now, the trend is up. In fact, since President Trump took office, European Allies and Canada have added an additional 41 billion dollars to their defence spending.
And all Allies have committed to raise this number substantially. So we are stepping up as never before. Allowing US spending to go down.
There is a new sense of urgency due to President Trump’s strong leadership on defence spending. Today, all Allies agreed to redouble their efforts. And this will make NATO stronger.
All Allies are committed to NATO. And that was very clear from all the 29 leaders around the table today.
Because NATO is good for Europe. And it is good for North America. Two World Wars and a Cold War have shown us that we are stronger together than apart.
The only time NATO invoked our collective defence clause, article 5, was after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. As a result, hundreds of thousands of European and Canadian soldiers have stood shoulder to shoulder with America in Afghanistan. Over a thousand have paid the ultimate price.
Moreover, the US presence in Europe is vital for the projection of US power to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
To prevent turmoil there from reaching our shores.
And European forces, infrastructure and intelligence also help to protect the US, as we all face a more assertive Russia. In short, NATO is a force multiplier for the US.
And despite our differences, we are doing more together for our security.
At this Summit, we decided:
to raise the readiness of our forces;
to increase our ability to move them across the Atlantic and within Europe;
to modernise our command structure;
and to set up a new cyber operations centre and counter-hybrid support teams.
We also decided to boost NATO’s contribution to the fight against terrorism.
With a new training mission in Iraq;
more support for Jordan and Tunisia;
a fully operational Hub for the South; and a package of additional measures for the south.
And we made clear NATO’s door remains open by inviting the government in Skopje to start accession talks.
Today, we also decided to sustain our presence in Afghanistan until conditions indicate a change is appropriate.
And we extended our financing for Afghan security forces through 2024.
This will help them further develop their Special Forces and Air Force, as they continue to fight international terrorism.
We also expressed strong support for President Ghani’s bold peace proposal. And our continued commitment will strengthen Afghanistan in its efforts to create the conditions for lasting peace and reconciliation.
We also met with the Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine. Together we discussed shared concerns. Including Russia’s threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Today, we agreed to continue working together to prepare Georgia for NATO membership. And to step up our support in areas like crisis management, and training and exercises. We recognise the significant progress on reforms which Georgia has made. And we appreciate Georgia’s major contributions to our mission in Afghanistan.
We stand by our earlier decisions in light of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the Alliance. We look forward to further progress in Ukraine’s reforms. And we’ll continue to extend political and practical support as the country faces an active conflict.
Last night, we discussed major global security challenges. Together with the Presidents of the European Council and Commission, and our colleagues from Finland and Sweden. We addressed the challenges from the Middle East and North Africa.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula. And a more assertive Russia.
NATO remains committed to our dual-track approach to Russia: defence and dialogue. We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship. When Russia’s actions make that possible.
NATO embodies the vital bond between Europe and North America. Our Alliance guarantees our security, our freedom, and the values we share. Including our commitment to defend each other.
Our decisions at the Brussels Summit show that, as the world changes, Europe and North America stand together and act together in NATO.