Austin Hosts NATO Chief Stoltenberg Before 75th Anniversary Summit

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg receives the US Department of Defense's Medal for distinguished Public Service

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the Pentagon ahead of NATO’s 75th anniversary summit. Austin praised Stoltenberg for his leadership and highlighted the significant progress NATO has made in strengthening deterrence and defense.

“Mr. Secretary General, welcome back to the Pentagon,” Austin said, acknowledging Stoltenberg’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Austin emphasized the summit’s importance in celebrating 75 years of the world’s greatest defensive alliance and reinforcing the transatlantic bond and shared security among NATO’s 32 allies.

Austin commended Stoltenberg’s leadership, noting his tenure as the second longest-serving NATO Secretary General. “You’ve guided NATO through one of the most challenging periods in its 75-year history,” Austin said, highlighting Stoltenberg’s courage, wisdom, and visionary leadership.

Stoltenberg expressed gratitude for Austin’s leadership and commitment to NATO, especially regarding Ukraine. “Your personal leadership in mobilizing all allies and many partners, more than 50 nations, establishing the Ukraine Defense Contact Group has been extremely important,” Stoltenberg said, emphasizing the unprecedented support provided to Ukraine through the Ramstein format.

The summit will not only celebrate NATO’s 75th anniversary but also focus on future deterrence and defense strategies. Stoltenberg noted that 23 allies now spend at least 2% of GDP on defense, up from only three allies in 2014, demonstrating a continued commitment to increasing defense spending.

Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, pointing out recent missile attacks on Ukrainian cities. He reiterated the need for Russia to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.

The summit will also include leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, underscoring the global nature of security concerns. Stoltenberg highlighted the support Russia receives from Iran, North Korea, and China, reinforcing the need for a united response.

Austin and Stoltenberg concluded by expressing their eagerness to discuss further strengthening the alliance and supporting Ukraine in the days to come.–News Desk