participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council
London, United Kingdom, December 4, 2019
Today, we gather in London, NATO’s first home, to celebrate seventy years of the strongest and most successful Alliance in history, and mark the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. NATO guarantees the security of our territory and our one billion citizens, our freedom, and the values we share, including democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law. Solidarity, unity, and cohesion are cornerstone principles of our Alliance. As we work together to prevent conflict and preserve peace, NATO remains the foundation for our collective defence and the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among Allies. We reaffirm the enduring transatlantic bond between Europe and North America, our adherence to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and our solemn commitment as enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.
We are determined to share the costs and responsibilities of our indivisible security. Through our Defence Investment Pledge, we are increasing our defence investment in line with its 2% and 20% guidelines, investing in new capabilities, and contributing more forces to missions and operations. Non-US defence expenditure has grown for five consecutive years; over 130 billion US dollars more is being invested in defence. In line with our commitment as enshrined in Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, we continue to strengthen our individual and collective capacity to resist all forms of attack. We are making good progress. We must and will do more.
We, as an Alliance, are facing distinct threats and challenges emanating from all strategic directions. Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all. State and non-state actors challenge the rules-based international order. Instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration. We face cyber and hybrid threats.
NATO is a defensive Alliance and poses no threat to any country. We are adapting our military capabilities, strategy, and plans across the Alliance in line with our 360-degree approach to security. We have taken decisions to improve the readiness of our forces to respond to any threat, at any time, from any direction. We stand firm in our commitment to the fight against terrorism and are taking stronger action together to defeat it. We are addressing and will continue to address in a measured and responsible way Russia’s deployment of new intermediate-range missiles, which brought about the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and which pose significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security. We are increasing action to protect our freedoms at sea and in the air. We are further strengthening our ability to deter and defend with an appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional, and missile defence capabilities, which we continue to adapt. As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. We are fully committed to the preservation and strengthening of effective arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation, taking into account the prevailing security environment. Allies are strongly committed to full implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in all its aspects, including nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We remain open for dialogue, and to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible.
We work to increase security for all. We have strengthened partnerships in our neighbourhood and beyond, deepening political dialogue, support, and engagement with partner countries and international organisations. We reaffirm our commitment to long-term security and stability in Afghanistan. We are increasing our cooperation with the United Nations; there is unprecedented progress in NATO-EU cooperation. We are committed to NATO’s Open Door policy, which strengthens the Alliance and has brought security to millions of Europeans. North Macedonia is here with us today and will soon be our newest Ally. We are committed to the success of all our operations and missions. We pay tribute to all the men and women who have served for NATO, and honour all those who have sacrificed their lives to keep us safe.
To stay secure, we must look to the future together. We are addressing the breadth and scale of new technologies to maintain our technological edge, while preserving our values and norms. We will continue to increase the resilience of our societies, as well as of our critical infrastructure and our energy security. NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognising the need to rely on secure and resilient systems. We have declared space an operational domain for NATO, recognising its importance in keeping us safe and tackling security challenges, while upholding international law. We are increasing our tools to respond to cyber attacks, and strengthening our ability to prepare for, deter, and defend against hybrid tactics that seek to undermine our security and societies. We are stepping up NATO’s role in human security. We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.
Taking into account the evolving strategic environment, we invite the Secretary General to present to Foreign Ministers a Council-agreed proposal for a forward-looking reflection process under his auspices, drawing on relevant expertise, to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation.
We express our appreciation for the generous hospitality extended to us by the United Kingdom. We will meet again in 2021.
In challenging times, we are stronger as an Alliance, and our people safer. Our bond and mutual commitment have guaranteed our freedoms, our values, and our security for seventy years. We act today to ensure that NATO guarantees those freedoms, values, and security for generations to come.