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Defense Ministerial in Runup to Madrid NATO Summit Sets a Global NATO Agenda

June 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—A two-day meeting in Brussels of defense ministers from the 30 NATO members, and guest countries, took place June 15-16, to preview the June 29-30 NATO Summit in Madrid, whose proceedings will also include many guest nations. Ministry and media report that the focus was on “Russian aggression,” but also NATO activities in the Indo-Pacific.

The NATO website posted the transcript of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg June 16 press conference—in French, English, Russian and Ukrainian—announcing five key areas for the summit: “Significantly stronger deterrence and defense.

“Sustained support for Ukraine and other partners at risk—and I am pleased that President Zelenskyy will participate in our summit.

“We will also decide on a new NATO Strategic Concept, setting out our position on Russia, on emerging challenges, and for the first time, on China. And in this context, I welcome that the leaders of our Asia-Pacific partners will take part in our summit for the first time.” The Pentagon report named these as being Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.

“Last but not least, better burden-sharing and resourcing of our Alliance. And the historic applications for membership by Finland and Sweden.”

Stoltenberg said his opening remarks:

“Russia’s aggression is a game-changer. So NATO must maintain credible deterrence and strong defense. Today, ministers addressed the scale and design of our future posture. And how we can step up across all domains, with substantial strengthening of our presence, capabilities, and readiness. This will mean more NATO forward deployed combat formations, to strengthen our battlegroups in the Eastern part of our Alliance.”

He further told the media,

“We also discussed plans to support the country [Ukraine] for the longer term. We are putting together a NATO comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine. Helping Ukraine improve interoperability with NATO, transition from Soviet-era to modern NATO equipment, and further strengthening security institutions.”

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov participated in Brussels meeting, as did defense ministers of Georgia, Finland, and Sweden, and the European Union, he said.

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