NATO fulfilling its commitments – Lithuanian president
NATO is fulfilling its commitments to defend its member countries, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Friday after meeting with the Alliance's new Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Lithuania.
"It's one of the secretary general's first foreign visits after he assumed his position. It’s very symbolic and significant as it shows that NATO is fulfilling its commitments and that all decisions, agreed during the Wales summit, are being specifically implemented," the president told a joint press conference in Karmėlava, central Lithuania.
Stoltenberg said his key task now is to ensure the implementation of the Readiness Action Plan stipulating the establishment of command and control elements in the Baltic states, a review of defence plans and the formation of special rapid response forces.
"NATO’s commitment to defend and protect all allies is rock solid," Stoltenberg said.
He also said Lithuania is valued as a NATO partner, especially for its contribution to the operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and its leadership in the area of energy security since NATO's Energy Security Centre of Excellence is situated in Vilnius.
On the other hand, the NATO chief noted, increasing defence spending is also a very important commitment. Stoltenberg welcomed Lithuania's objective to increase defence expenditure every year.
Lithuania 's political parties have agreed to gradually increase defence spending for it to reach 2 percent GDP by 2020.