I am pleased that Norway has taken up the baton of this still young tradition of conducting an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, which Germany established only last year. Like at last year’s meeting in Berlin, our task in Oslo will be to prepare for the upcoming NATO Summit of the Heads of State and Government, by getting an overview of the current security policy situation and jointly addressing the core strategic issues facing the North Atlantic Alliance. In this context it is clear that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and against the international order, which has now been raging for more than 450 days, must not be allowed to become normality. Every day of the war, every new Russian drone and missile attack, will prompt us only to provide even more support for the Ukrainian people in their self-defence and their fight for peace.
Here, NATO is absolutely vital for the security of us all. For Putin has demonstrated that he will ride roughshod over any norm that is not defended by force. That is why, in Oslo, we will also talk about how we can resolutely strengthen NATO’s capabilities for defence and deterrence – not only for today and tomorrow, but for the coming years, so that people everywhere in our Alliance can enjoy security. We have taken a tremendous step towards strengthening the Alliance with Finland becoming its 31st member. The next logical step is now for Sweden to join – as we all agreed together at the last NATO Summit in Madrid. It remains the aim of the Federal Government for the Vilnius Summit to have 32 Allies seated at the table.