NATO leaders reaffirm defence spend commitment

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to NATO, describing it as ‘rock solid’ at a meeting of the leaders of the military alliances’ 70th anniversary in London.

The Prime Minister and the other leaders, including US President Trump, met for talks designed to strengthen the alliance and to ensure it is best placed to deal with future challenges.

In a declaration, the NATO leaders outlined their pledge on defence spend, stating: ‘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.’

Previously, President Trump had been critical of NATO members who had failed to meet the budget target, going as far as to controversially question the value of the alliance to the United States.

However, the US President appeared satisfied with the direction of the discussions. He tweeted after the conclusion of the two day conference:

‘Great progress has been made by NATO over the last three years. Countries other than the U.S. have agreed to pay 130 Billion Dollars more per year, and by 2024, that number will be 400 Billion Dollars. NATO will be richer and stronger than ever before….’

As for the UK, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government remains committed to maintaining its NATO defence spend.

Mr Johnson said: “For the UK’s part, we spend over 2% of GDP on defence. We are proudly making the biggest contribution of any European ally to NATO’s Readiness Initiative by offering an armoured brigade, two fighter squadrons and six warships, including the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.”

The declaration also highlighted the need to invest in technology to meet emerging threats such as cyber and hybrid attacks, protect key infrastructure and recognised space as an operational domain. It stated:

‘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.’

image from shutterstock

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