The Secretary General said that Britain had a proud tradition for honouring its soldiers and veterans and that he and the whole NATO Alliance were grateful for the UK’s sacrifices and commitment in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister said it was an honour to have the Secretary General here on such an important day and that we should look to learn the lessons, including the importance of NATO training and capability building missions to ensure countries can provide security for themselves.
They discussed the Wales Summit commitments, and both commended the progress made on establishing the very high readiness Spearhead Force and 6 command posts in Baltic countries, as well as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. As part of this and in the context of the current debate, the Prime Minister and Secretary General discussed defence expenditure and the Prime Minister explained that the UK would continue to meet the 2% target this financial year and next, but decisions beyond this would be made in the next Spending Review. The Secretary General said he appreciated the UK’s leadership within the Alliance and that the government was using its defence spending to focus on investment in new capabilities.
The Prime Minister set out new plans for the UK to play a stronger role in several NATO military exercises this year. These included bringing Joint Warrior into the NATO fold this April and committing 850 personnel to Exercise Arrcade Fusion in the Baltic states towards the end of the year, contributing to the development of NATO’s new Spearhead Force.
Both leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s clear pattern of aggressive behaviour. They discussed the need to tackle hybrid warfare tactics deployed by Russia in Eastern Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, especially countering disingenuous public information campaigns. They agreed that effective strategic communications was central to countering Russian propaganda.