Today the Prime Minister welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Downing Street.
The Prime Minister began by emphasising the UK’s ongoing commitment to NATO, and thanked the Secretary General for the role he has played in supporting and strengthening the Alliance.
Both leaders looked forward to the UK-hosted NATO Leaders’ Meeting in December and the opportunity it will provide to discuss issues such as tackling the new and evolving challenges NATO faces; working together to better share the burden of collective defence and give new impetus to international arms control
The Secretary General praised the UK for meeting and exceeding the NATO spending target. The Prime Minister and Secretary General welcomed the progress that has been made on spending by Allies in recent years, with $100 billion more contributed to NATO members’ defence budgets since 2016, but agreed that all NATO members should have a plan to spend 2% of their GDP on defence.
The Prime Minister and Secretary General both expressed their deep concern at the situation in northern Syria. They agreed that all NATO Allies, including Turkey, should focus their efforts on defeating Daesh and not lose the gains that have been made in recent years.
Both leaders stressed the value of Turkey as a NATO Ally and recognised the role they have played in supporting refugees from the Syrian conflict. But the Prime Minister was clear that the current Turkish operation needed to end.