Lithuanian defmin urges NATO allies to up defense spending

  • 2024-02-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas urged allies to ambitiously increase defense spending and develop lacking capabilities during the recent meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

"It's key for NATO to continue rapidly boosting its collective defense in line with the decisions made in Madrid and consolidated in Vilnius. The Washington summit in the summer must ensure the practical implementation of these decisions and demonstrate the Alliance's readiness to deter and defend every inch of the Alliance," the minister was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Defense Ministry on Thursday.

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that 18 of the Alliance's 31 countries were ready to meet the 2 percent GDP defense spending target in 2024.

He made the comments after former US President Donald Trump said he would encourage Russia to attack non-paying members if he won the November presidential election.

NATO defense ministers also discussed the implementation of the Alliance's defense plans, defense funding and ways to boost of industrial capacity.

Anusauskas also outlined Lithuania's priorities it will pursue in the run-up to the NATO summit in Washington.

"Our top priority is the feasibility of the regional plans. We also need to make progress in strengthening integrated air and missile defense. We look forward to the practical implementation of the rotational air defense model," Anusauskas told allies.

In Brussels, the minister also met with SACEUR Christopher G. Cavoli and discussed the security situation and the Alliance's posture.

Separately, Anusauskas also met with his Polish, Dutch and Turkish counterparts and discussed key bilateral defense cooperation issues.