The King on Tuesday called on the allied leaders to maintain unity in the face of a “more uncertain, more complex and more dangerous” world, where old threats merge with new ones and “strategic optimism” has given way to “strategic realism”. ”. Before the leaders attending the NATO summit that opens this Wednesday in Madrid, Felipe VI recalled that “the war has returned to Europe” and that means, beyond the courage and dignity of the Ukrainian people, which he has praised, a “tragic failure for the world”. “Russia’s unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine is a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign state,” said the King, in a speech delivered entirely in English, at the start of the dinner held at the Royal Palace. “No country is oblivious to this war. The same security of Spain and Western Europe also passes through Ukraine. Those of us who believe in democracy, human rights and an open, rules-based international order must unite in support of the Ukrainian people,” he stressed.
At the dinner, held in the gala dining room of the Royal Palace, 60 guests were invited: 14 presidents, 21 prime ministers and the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in addition of 18 companions. The latter, however, has stayed at the summit venue (the Madrid Trade Fair) explaining to the press the agreement between the presidents of Turkey and Finland and the Swedish prime minister that has allowed the entry of the two to be unblocked Nordic countries in the Alliance, after lifting its veto Ankara.
The King and Queen greeted the guests in the Throne Room, where they chatted cordially with the US president, Joe Biden, and his wife Jill -with whom Doña Letizia has visited an association for the fight against cancer and a reception center for Ukrainian refugees—, before moving on to the Hall of Columns and taking a group photo with the guests.
The king stressed that the Royal Palace had never brought together so many heads of state and government, although Spain already hosted a NATO summit a quarter of a century ago in 1997, when there was “strategic optimism” after the fall of the Wall of Berlin and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Felipe VI has assigned duties to the allied leaders, to whom he has pointed out that the Madrid Summit must provide “the necessary conviction, guidance and instruments” to adapt to the new reality, not only with the approval of the new Strategic Concept, the NATO’s roadmap for the next decade, but rather a set of instruments to strengthen its deterrence and defense capacity, consolidate the strength of its societies, maintain its technological advantage, prepare for the impact of climate change and equip the Alliance of the “necessary resources”. “Unity has been the key to NATO’s success throughout its history and is a fundamental value today. […] Nowhere will this be more evident than at this summit.”
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