NATO Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Vilnius on July 11, 2023 issued the Vilnius Summit Communiqué.

NATO’s official website says the heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance have gathered in Vilnius yesterday as war continues on the European continent, to reaffirm their enduring transatlantic bond, unity, cohesion, and solidarity at a critical time for their security and international peace and stability.    

They reportedly warmly welcome Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council.   

They welcomed Finland as the newest member of the Alliance and reaffirmed their commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy.  They also welcomed the agreement reached between the NATO Secretary General, the President of Turkiye, and the Prime Minister of Sweden.

The Communiqué notes that the Russian Federation has violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order.  The Russian Federation is reportedly the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is the most direct asymmetric threat to the security of our citizens and to international peace and prosperity. 

Russia bears full responsibility for its illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, which has gravely undermined Euro-Atlantic and global security and for which it must be held fully accountable, according to the Communiqué. 

The security of Ukraine is reportedly of great importance to Allies and the Alliance.  To support Ukraine’s further integration with NATO, today they have agreed a substantial package of expanded political and practical support.  They have decided to establish the NATO-Ukraine Council, a new joint body where Allies and Ukraine sit as equal members to advance political dialogue, engagement, cooperation, and Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO.  It will provide for joint consultations, decision-making, and activities, and will also serve as a crisis consultation mechanism between NATO and Ukraine, according to the Communiqué.

Russia is reportedly modernizing its nuclear forces, including its large stockpile of theatre-range weapons, and expanding its novel and disruptive dual-capable delivery systems.  The Communiqué notes that it is unacceptable that Russia uses such dual-capable systems to attack civilians and critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.  They condemned Russia’s announced intention to deploy nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable systems on Belarusian territory. 

Terrorist organizations threaten the security of our populations, forces and territory, the Communiqué says, noting that they have expanded their networks, enhanced their capabilities and invested in new technologies to improve their reach and lethality.  

The People’s Republic of China’s reportedly stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.  The PRC employs a broad range of political, economic, and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power, while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions and military build-up.  The PRC’s malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation target Allies and harm Alliance security, according to the Communiqué.  The PRC reportedly seeks to control key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, and strategic materials and supply chains.  It uses its economic leverage to create strategic dependencies and enhance its influence.  It strives to subvert the rules-based international order, including in the space, cyber and maritime domains, according to the Communiqué.

They reportedly remain open to constructive engagement with the PRC, including building reciprocal transparency, with a view to safeguarding the Alliance’s security interests. 

The Communiqué notes that the deepening strategic partnership between the PRC and Russia and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests. 

Energy security reportedly plays an important role in their common security.  The energy crisis intentionally exacerbated by Russia has underlined the importance of a stable and reliable energy supply and the diversification of routes, suppliers, and sources, the Communiqué says.  

The Black Sea region is reportedly of strategic importance for the Alliance and they reiterated their support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.

According to the Communiqué, Iran’s support to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has an impact on Euro-Atlantic security.  They call upon Iran to cease its military support to Russia, in particular its transfer of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have been used to attack critical infrastructure, causing widespread civilian casualties.  They expressed serious concern over Iran’s malicious activities within Allied territory.  They also call upon Iran to refrain from destabilizing actions, including seizures of maritime vessels, and to play a constructive role in fostering regional stability and peace.

The Indo-Pacific is reportedly important for NATO, given that developments in that region can directly affect Euro-Atlantic security.  They welcomed “the contribution of their partners in the Asia-Pacific region – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea – to security in the Euro-Atlantic, including their commitment to supporting Ukraine.”