July 04, 2022

Global Britain in Action: The Commonwealth, G7 and NATO Summits

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons about the NATO, G7 and Commonwealth summits.

Here is what he said:

Mr Speaker,
With your permission, I will make a statement about the NATO, G7 and Commonwealth summits,
held in Madrid, Schloss Elmau and Kigali respectively.
In the space of seven days, I had the opportunity to work alongside more than 80 governments
– nearly half the entire membership of the United Nations –
and hold bilateral talks with over 25 leaders,
ranging from the new Presidents of South Korea and Zambia to the Prime Ministers of Japan and Jamaica,
demonstrating the global reach of British diplomacy,
and the value of our presence at the world’s top tables.
Our immediate priority is to join with our allies
to ensure that Ukraine prevails in her brave struggle against Putin’s aggression.
At the Madrid summit, NATO exceeded all expectations
in the unity and single-minded resolve of the Alliance
to support Ukraine for as long as it takes
and to explode the myth that Western democracies lack the staying power for a prolonged crisis.
All of us understand that if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine,
he will find new targets for his revanchist attacks
and we are not defending some abstract ideal,
but the first principle of a peaceful world
which is that large and powerful countries cannot be allowed to dismember their neighbours,
and if this was ever permitted,
then no nation anywhere would be safe.
Therefore our goal must be for our Ukrainian friends to win,
by which I mean that Ukraine must have the strength to finish this war on the terms that President Zelenskyy has described.
And when Putin claimed that by invading his neighbour he would force NATO away from Russia,
he could not have been proved more spectacularly wrong,
because the single most welcome outcome of the Madrid summit
was the Alliance’s agreement to admit Finland and Sweden.
I hope I speak for the whole House when I say that Britain will be proud to stand alongside these fellow democracies
and reaffirm our unshakeable pledge to come to their aid
and defend them if ever necessary,
just as they would for us.
We were glad to smooth their path into NATO by giving both nations the security assurances they needed to apply for membership
and when I met Prime Minister Andersson of Sweden and President Niinistö of Finland last Wednesday,
I told them I was certain that NATO would be stronger and safer for their accession.
Before Putin’s onslaught, both countries had prized their neutrality,
even through all the crises of the Cold War,
and it is a measure of how seriously they take today’s threat,
that opinion in Sweden and Finland has been transformed,
and it speaks volumes about Putin’s folly
that one permanent consequence of his attack on Ukraine
will be a doubling of the length of NATO’s border with Russia.
If anyone needed proof that NATO is purely defensive,
the fact that two quintessentially peaceable countries should have chosen to join
demonstrates the true nature of our Alliance.
And now is the time to intensify our help for Ukraine because Putin’s Donbas offensive is slowing down,
and his overstretched army is suffering heavy casualties,
and Ukraine’s success in forcing the Russians off Snake Island by sheer weight of firepower,
shows how difficult the invader will find it
to hold the territory he has overrun.
We need to equip our friends now to take advantage of the moment when Putin will have to pause and regroup,
So Britain will supply Ukraine with another £1 billion of military aid,
including air defences, drones and electronic warfare equipment,
bringing our total military, humanitarian and economic support since 24th February to nearly £4 billion.
And to guarantee the security of our allies on the eastern flank,
NATO agreed in Madrid to bolster its high readiness forces
and we in the UK will offer even more British forces to the Alliance,
including almost all of our surface fleet.
We have already doubled our deployment in Estonia
and we will upgrade our national headquarters to be led by a Brigadier
and help our Estonian friends to establish their own divisional headquarters.
If you follow the trajectory of our programmes to modernise our armed forces,
Mr Speaker,
you will draw the logical conclusion that the UK will likely be spending 2.5 percent of GDP on defence by the end of this decade.
Earlier, at the G7 summit, the first full day of talks coincided with a Russian missile destroying a Ukrainian shopping centre,
killing at least 18 people.
This barbaric attack on an obviously civilian target strengthened the resolve of my fellow leaders
to provide Ukraine with more financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic backing for
– and I quote the communique again –
as long as it takes”,
exactly the term later echoed by NATO.
The G7 has pledged nearly $30 billion of financial support for Ukraine this year
and we will tighten our sanctions on Russia
and the UK will join America, Japan and Canada to ban the import of Russian gold,
which previously raised more export revenues than anything else except hydrocarbons.
The G7 will devise more options for ensuring that nearly 25 million tonnes of grain,
trapped inside Ukraine by Putin’s blockade,
reaches the countries that rely on these supplies.
Just as the world economy was recovering from the pandemic,
Putin’s war has caused a surge in global food and energy prices,
raising the cost of living everywhere, including here at home.
The G7 agreed – and I quote – to “take immediate action to secure energy supply and reduce price surges… including by exploring additional measures such as price caps”.
And we will help our partners in the developing world to meet their climate targets and transform millions of lives
by constructing new infrastructure
according to the highest standards of transparency and environmental protection.
Through our Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment
– an idea launched by the UK at the Carbis Bay summit last year –
we will mobilise up to $600 billion of public and private investment over the next five years.
Many beneficiary nations will be members of the Commonwealth,
and I was delighted to attend the summit in Kigali of this unique association of 56 states, encompassing a third of humanity.
More countries are eager to join
and we were pleased to welcome two new members in Gabon and Togo.
It is an amazing fact that our familiar legal and administrative systems,
combined with the English language,
knock 21 percent off the cost of trade between Commonwealth members.
And it is because the Commonwealth unites that advantage
with some of the fastest-growing markets in the world
that we are using the sovereignty the UK has regained
to sign free trade or economic partnership agreements with as many Commonwealth countries as possible.
So far we’ve done 33, including Australia and New Zealand,
and we’re aiming for India by Diwali in October.
But it’s true that not every member of the Commonwealth sees Putin’s aggression as we do,
or exactly as we do,
and it was vital to have the opportunity to counter the myths
and point out that food prices are rising because Putin has blockaded one of the world’s biggest food-producers,
and if large countries are free to destroy their neighbours
then no Commonwealth member, however distant from Ukraine,
would be genuinely secure.
The fact that in a week, the UK was able to deal on friendly terms with scores of countries in three organisations
shows the extraordinary diplomatic assets our country possesses
and as we stand up for what is right in Ukraine,
and advance the values and interests of the British people,
I commend this statement to the House.