NATO ‘is the cornerstone for global security’

Members of the U.S. and Lithuanian militaries participate in a NATO military exercise. (© AP Images)

Underscoring NATO’s continued relevance to 21st-century security issues, President Obama called this “a challenging and important time for NATO” as he welcomed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to the White House on May 26.

The leaders discussed ending the crisis in Ukraine, defeating Daesh in the Middle East and North Africa, and supporting the Afghan government:

  • Ukraine: “We had a chance to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the increasingly aggressive posture that Russia has taken, and we affirmed that NATO is the cornerstone not just of trans-Atlantic security but, in many ways, is the cornerstone for global security,” Obama said. Obama and Stoltenberg also reaffirmed the importance of implementing the Minsk Agreement and ensuring Ukraine enjoys territorial integrity and sovereignty.

  • Daesh: Obama said the United States is working closely with “NATO allies to make sure that we are partnering with other countries to address issues of counterterrorism, making sure that we continue to coordinate effectively in the fight against ISIL.” All 28 NATO countries are part of the coalition supporting the Iraqi government in its fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL.

  • Afghanistan: The United States and NATO will meet later this year in Warsaw and discuss how to continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces. “That will require resources, training, and assistance from not only the United States but also from all NATO countries,” Obama said. He said he’s gratified that Stoltenberg “has made this an important focus of the work that’s to be done.”

NATO is a central component to meet these challenges, Obama said, and each member country needs to properly provide resources for and commit to NATO missions.

“That’s the only way that we’re going to maintain the kind of collective self-defense that has been the hallmark of peace and prosperity for many, many decades now,” the president said.