Secretary General welcomes US Secretary of Defense to meeting of NATO Defence Ministers

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to NATO Headquarters on Thursday (16 June 2022), ahead of today’s meetings of Allied defence ministers. Mr Stoltenberg thanked Secretary Austin for the leadership of the United States in strengthening NATO, and for his personal commitment to the Alliance. Mr Stoltenberg also welcomed the US’ strong support for Ukraine, including its new announcement of additional aid, and commended Secretary Austin for his role in convening the Ukraine Support Contact Group, ensuring that the country continues to receive vital military supplies.

Read the Secretary General’s full remarks

So Secretary Austin, dear Lloyd.
Welcome back to the NATO headquarters.
It is always great to see you here.

And let me thank you for your personal leadership.
Your steadfast commitment to NATO, to our transatlantic Alliance.
And all the contributions from the United States to our collective defence, to our shared security.
Not least, in leading the efforts to provide support to Ukraine,
to uphold their right for self-defence.

Yesterday you hosted the support group, the Contact Group for Ukraine, here at NATO.

And I also very much welcome the announcement yesterday by the President of United States to further increase the support for Ukraine, because they really need our support.

And yesterday at the Defence Ministerial meeting, it was a strong message from all NATO Allies and partners that we are prepared for long haul.
NATO Allies are prepared to continue to provide substantial, unprecedented support to Ukraine.

We are at this ministerial meeting of NATO Defence Ministers preparing for the Summit later this month in Madrid.
That will be a transformative summit at a pivotal time for our security.
We will make important decisions on how to strengthen further our deterrence and defence in a more dangerous world.

We will agree on a comprehensive package of support to Ukraine.

We will agree on how to further modernise NATO, by agreeing a Strategic Concept reflecting a new security reality.

And then we will engage with partners, including our Asia Pacific partners, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

And also with Finland and Sweden. Two countries that have now applied for NATO membership.

And then we will also, of course, address the need to further invest,
increase defence spending, and improve burden sharing within our Alliance.

So Secretary Austin, thank you so much. Thank you for being a steadfast and strong supporter of our Alliance.