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Minister of National Defence A. Anušauskas highlights collective defence commitments at the NATO Defence Ministerial

Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas is attending the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting held on February 17 –18 to address NATO‘s most topical issues. In the session of February 17 the NATO Ministers focussed on enhancing NATO deterrence and defence and fairer burden sharing.

In his address to fellow NATO Defence Ministers Minister A. Anušauskas underscored that NATO collective defence and deterrence were critical. “Russia remains to be a security threat to the Baltic region. We have to continue the efforts to strengthen the Alliance collective defence, and, therefore, collective defence commitments have to present in NATO defence planning, NATO capability development, and improvement of capability readiness against this backdrop” he said.

A. Anušauskas also pointed out the necessity to continue enhancing NATO response by strengthening the allied air defence, including in the Baltic region.

“We highly appreciate and welcome the U.S. commitments to the defence of Europe and the whole Euro-Atlantic region. The transatlantic bond is more important than ever,” Minister of National Defence said in his first NATO Defence Ministers meeting, also for the first time attended by the 28th U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III.

A. Anušauskas stressed that Lithuania respected its 2% of GDP defence spending commitment because it understood the importance of a fair burden sharing. “Our words mean a lot less if we don’t back them with resources, for which reason I will work to reach 2.2% of GDP Lithuanian defence spending by 2024,” he said.

On the second day of the meeting the NATO Defence Ministers will address the way ahead for the international operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lithuania contributes military personnel to both of the operations.

Photo credit: Alfredas Pliadis/MoD

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