Remarks by President Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Official Greeting in Vilnius, Lithuania

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July 11, 2023

Welcoming US President Joe Biden at the NATO Summit in Vilnius on Tuesday, 11 July 2023, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked him for his strong leadership making “this Alliance united and even stronger”. Mr. Stoltenberg said that the Summit will send a clear message to Ukraine that “we stand by them as long as needed” and that another major message from the Summit will be that “we need to invest more in our defence and we will agree a new defence investment pledge”.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG:  President Biden, dear Joe, welcome to the NATO Summit.  And many, many thanks for your strong leadership making this alliance united and even stronger.  This summit is already historic because the agreement we made yesterday will make Sweden a full member of NATO.  And that will make our alliance even more capable of defending all Allies.

At this meeting, we will also send a clear message to Ukraine that we stand by them as long as needed and also that we agree on a united and positive message — message on the path forward for Ukraine and membership for Ukraine.

Another major message from this summit will be that we need to invest more in our defense.  And we will agree on a new defense investment pledge where we state clearly that 2 percent of GDP for defense is the minimum.

The good news is that European Allies and Canada are stepping up.  This year, we have new numbers showing that they have added 8.3 percent in real terms for the defense budget.  This is a record high, and that demonstrates that Allies are delivering on their commitments.

So, once again, Mr. President, it’s great to have you here at the NATO Summit.

  1. PRESIDENT: It’s good to be here. And thank you for continuing to deliver.

I — as I’ve made no mis- — the press is not at all surprised that I’ve been touting the fact that I think it’s really important at this critical moment in Ukrai- — in the whole NATO issue that you continue to lead NATO.  You’re trusted.  No one knows the situation that we’re facing better than you do.

And this historic moment — the adding of Finland and Sweden to — to NATO — it’s consequential.  And your leadership really matters.  And the — and we agreed on the language that — that we proposed, that you proposed, relative to the future of Ukraine being able to join NATO.

And we’re looking forward to continuing a united NATO.  They’ve heard me say — my American press have heard me say many times I still think that President Putin thinks the way he succeeds is to break NATO.  Not going to do that, especially with you as the lead of it.

So, thank you for being willing to do it.


PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, all.

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