BRUSSELS , July 12, 2018 — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a strong message to NATO allies gathered on the sidelines of the 2018 NATO Summit that the United States remains fully committed to the Alliance.
“There is broad public support in the United States for NATO. There is broad support in Congress for NATO,” said Shaheen. “We appreciate the importance that NATO has had to national security in the United States. We understand that we are stronger with allies working together than we are alone. We very much appreciate the fact that the only time Article 5 has been invoked was after the United States was attacked on 9/11.”
Senator Tillis emphasized U.S. support for the Alliance, “It is the most important military alliance that has ever existed,” he said. “I am very proud to be here, and to tell you all that you have Congress on a bipartisan basis — we have your back.”
Senators Shaheen and Tillis traveled to Brussels the day following a Senate motion reaffirming American commitment to the Alliance that passed with a bipartisan majority of 97-2. The senators’ message was delivered at NATO Engages: The Brussels Summit Dialogue, held July 11–12 on the sidelines of the NATO Brussels Summit and organized by The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Atlantic Council, NATO, Munich Security Conference, and Women in International Security.
The event, which was opened with optimistic remarks from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, featured a frank and unfiltered conversation between Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Ursula von der Leyen regarding their respective nations’ military policies.
Several heads of state spoke at NATO Engages, including a session featuring Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Georgian Preseident Giorgi Margvelashvili in a conversation focused on their shared security challenges. Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Macedonia, spoke shortly after the Summit announcement that his country would begin accession talks to join NATO.
Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, also spoke about the ongoing challenges his country faces and NATO operations there; Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, also spoke about her country’s contribution to NATO and the connections between the Sustainable Development Goals and security. Both Ghani and Jakobsdottir emphasized the essential role women have to play in defense and security. This theme was a thread throughout the event, from a panel exploring inclusive security to speakers throughout the conference highlighting that leadership from women is crucial for peace and stability.
The event was closed by NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, who addressed the controversies and disagreements that media had highlighted at the NATO Summit. Gottemoeller framed the disputes as healthy debate. “What’s wrong with a good debate?” said Gottemoeller. “That’s what happens around the NAC table every single day.
WATCH #NATOEngagesSessions: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRlpW88SeBSNy7vUKveCOgcz8YDVdLydA
Founded in 1972 as a non-partisan, nonprofit organization through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has offices in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, and Warsaw. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm. www.gmfus.org