BRUSSELS, June 27 (KUNA) -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday the summit of the 30-member military Alliance in the Spanish capital Madrid this week will be "transformative with many important decisions."
Speaking at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels today, he said NATO leaders will take decision on a new Strategic Concept, on a fundamental shift in NATO's deterrence and defence and support to Ukraine at the 3-day meeting which kicks off on Tuesday.
"Our new Concept will guide us in an era of strategic competition. I expect it will make clear that Allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security, "he stressed.
Stoltenberg noted that it will address China for the first time and the challenges that Beijing "poses to our security, interests, and values."
"It will also cover our evolving approach to a number of other threats and challenges including terrorism, cyber, and hybrid," he said.
He said NATO would transform its Response Force and increase the number of readiness forces to well over 300,000 and also boost its ability to reinforce in crisis and conflict.
"Together, this constitutes the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defense since the Cold War," stressed Stoltenberg.
On Ukraine, he said at the summit NATO leaders will agree a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine which include substantial deliveries of support in areas like secure communications, anti-drone systems, fuel, military and finance and training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces.
NATO will also deepen cooperation with it closest partners, he said , and welcomed that Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea will join a NATO summit for the first time . Georgia and the European Union will also take part.
"And we will adopt new packages of support for our partners Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova as well as for Mauritania and Tunisia," he said.
The NATO summit will also aim to make progress on Finland and Sweden's applications for membership, he said and noted that Turkiye, NATO, Sweden and Finland will hold a leaders' meeting in Madrid tomorrow.
"The purpose of that meeting is to make progress of the accession of Finland and Sweden. I will not make any promises but we are working actively to ensure progress. It is too early to say what kind of progress we can make by the summit. At the same time we need to take into account concerns expressed by Turkiye," he said.
Moreover, NATO today released new defense spending figures, which shows that 2022 will be the eighth consecutive year of increases across European members and Canada.
By the end of the year NATO member states will have invested well over 350 billion US dollars extra since they agreed on defense investment pledge in 2014, he said.
NATO leaders will also discuss threats and challenges from the south and recommit to the fight against terrorism, the food crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and consider response to Russia and China's increasing influence in our southern neighborhood, he added. (end)