Incoming US Administration: NATO

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 12:00 am, 22nd November 2016

What discussions he has had with the incoming US Administration on their policy on article 5 of the NATO treaty.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

Let the little guy get a word in for once!

Throughout the election period, our embassy in Washington engaged both campaigns across the breadth of our policy interests, including NATO.

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield

I agree with the Foreign Secretary that we should encourage all NATO allies to spend 2% of their GDP on defence, but will the Minister take this opportunity to send a message to President-elect Trump and to President Putin that article 5 is sacrosanct and not in any way conditional on our allies’ spending levels?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

I confirm that we strongly support the leaving in of article 5 as the bedrock of NATO and support NATO as the bedrock of European and wider defence interests.

Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Conservative, The Cotswolds

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Russians’ stationing of new ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad is curious given that it will probably unite NATO members, the United States in particular, around article 5?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

NATO is taking necessary and proportionated steps—balanced with dialogue—to strengthen defence and deterrents in response to Russian belligerence. At Warsaw, NATO announced an enhanced forward presence, which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has already referenced today, in Poland and the Baltic states. The UK will lead in Estonia, providing an infantry battalion of 800 troops from May of next year.

Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence)

May I come back to article 5? The principle that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all is the cornerstone on which the alliance is built. At a time when the Baltic states are rightly concerned about Russian expansionism, that principle is now more important than ever. Will the Minister make it clear today that article 5 is an inviolable right for all NATO members, not something that is contingent on how much they spend on defence?

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

I can repeat my having said just that. July’s NATO summit demonstrated the commitment of all allies to article 5, and I can confirm that again today.