L. Linkevičius: Both unity of NATO allies and credibility of NATO are invaluable
On 20 November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius participated in the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels, which finalized preparations for the meeting of NATO leaders on 3 and 4 December in London, the United Kingdom. NATO Foreign Ministers discussed progress in strengthening NATO deterrence and defense posture, and ensuring a high level of readiness of our forces in order to better respond to cyber-attacks and hybrid threats. Foreign Ministers also discussed relations with Russia, China, the future of arms control and sharing the burden of defense expenditure.
According to Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, the Alliance's unity and solidarity are key to ensuring security in Europe and the Baltic region, namely in Lithuania. “Only together with the Allies can we develop and constantly update realistic plans for defense and mobilize military capabilities needed to translate the plans into reality. In order to implement the principle of collective defense that lies at the heart of NATO, all Allies need to fulfil their defense spending commitments, as agreed at the Wales Summit in 2014,” said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
Lithuania was highly commended by the member states of NATO for increasing its defense spending. "We are pleased to be among the first among the NATO allies to ensure adequate defense spending in the light of the real security situation," noted the Minister L. Linkevičius.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also emphasized the importance of maintaining the same level of focus on and support for countries aspiring to membership in the Euro-Atlantic organizations, especially for Georgia and Ukraine. These two countries contribute significantly to the Alliance’s missions and operations.
The Minister L. Linkevičius met with the General Tod Wolters, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Europe. L. Linkevičius thanked the Allies, especially the United States of America, for their continued attention to security and defense in the region and in Lithuania, and for sending 500 U.S. Army soldiers and heavy equipment to Lithuania to take part in the exercise, as well as for the US-led multinational exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20. It will be one of the largest U.S. Army-led exercises and the largest deployment of U.S.-based land forces to Europe for an exercise in the last 25 years with roughly 20,000 soldiers deploying from the U.S.