NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, fresh from a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, told reporters Friday he expects next week’s summit of NATO leaders in Brussel to be a pivotal moment for the alliance and its collective security.
During a briefing at alliance headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg noted he had a very good meeting with Biden Monday at the White House and said all NATO alliance members were glad to hear the U.S. president’s strong commitment to reinvigorating the trans-Atlantic bond.
Stoltenberg said he was confident all the leaders at the summit will demonstrate their commitment to that alliance “not only in words, but also in deeds."
He laid out a busy agenda for the meeting, topped by dealings with Russia and China, which he said were “pushing back against the rules-based international order.” He said the recent high-profile cyberattacks which have been traced to Russia, have left relations between the alliance and the country at their lowest point since the cold war.
He emphasized NATO needs to develop its next strategy for dealing with Russia and said he has reached out to the country to convene a new meeting the NATO-Russia Council. The council was created in 2002 in an effort to improve communications between the alliance and its primary adversary, but the group has not met since 2019.
Stoltenberg said Russia has “not responded positively” to the idea but the dialogue continues.
The NATO chief said the summit also will focus on ensuring the alliance’s technical capabilities to defend against cyberattacks, and he expects the allies will agree on a new cyber-defense policy.
Stoltenberg said outer space will also be a priority, underscoring that domain is as essential as any other the alliance defends. He said it is critical that NATO can gather intelligence, navigate, and be able to detect missile launches, among other space-related issues.