The AP Interview: Spanish PM says NATO summit to show unity

Jun 27, 2022, 10:06 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 10:49 pm
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez talks during an interview with The Associated Press at the Mon...

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez talks during an interview with The Associated Press at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the NATO summit in Madrid this week aims to showcase the Western allies’ united front in defense of democratic values in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while increasing the bloc’s deterrence capabilities.

In an interview with The Associated Press a day before the summit begins Tuesday, he reiterated that the alliance would not tolerate any territorial aggression against its members.

“We have to transmit a message of deterrence, that we are ready to defend every centimeter of allied territory,” Sánchez said.

Russian President Vladimir “Putin is not just invading Ukraine. What he wants is to destabilize, weaken the security, the prosperity of Europe.”

Speaking at the palace that hosts the prime minister’s office and residence in Madrid, Sánchez said the chief aim of the NATO summit was to send “a message of unity in line with democracy, security, international order, based on rules that, unfortunately, Putin and the Russian Federation have blown to smithereens with the invasion of Ukraine.”

A key issue will be boosting NATO’s military presence on its eastern flank, as well as satisfying Spain’s demand to not ignore budding threats on the southern fringe of the alliance, especially from unstable African areas such as the Sahel.

NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Monday the alliance will increase the size of its rapid reaction force to 300,000 troops. The force currently has about 40,000 soldiers.

Stoltenberg also said the allies will discuss how to respond to the growing influence of Russia and China in NATO’s “southern neighborhood.”

The Madrid summit, which opens with a state dinner Tuesday followed by discussions on Wednesday, was announced a year ago with eyes set on a new “Strategic Concept,” the once-in-a-decade renewal of vows by NATO members that outlines the threats to the alliance and its response.

But after Moscow launched its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, a key issue has become Finland and Sweden’s ending of their non-aligned and neutrality stance to apply for NATO membership, something that has greatly irked Russia.

NATO’s proclaimed unity is being put to test on the issue, as Turkey, which has the second-biggest army in the alliance after the United States, is looking for guarantees from Finland and Sweden regarding Kurdish groups that Ankara regards as terrorists.

The leaders of the three countries announced they would hold a special meeting Tuesday in Madrid.

“The incorporation of Finland and Sweden, before or after, will be made possible,” Sánchez told the AP. “We would like it to be in the Madrid summit, I don’t deny it but, evidently, if it’s not the case, the talks will continue.”

Sánchez, a Socialist politician who has led Spain’s first national coalition government since early 2020, is facing criticism from Unidas Podemos (United We Can), a far-left party that holds five of the 22 seats in the Cabinet, for its backing of NATO’s military commitment to Ukraine.

Some United We Can members have said they won’t back Spain’s national budget next year if it increases military spending while Spaniards grapple with runaway inflation and other economic hardship.

Without specifying a timeframe, Sánchez said Spain was committed to increasing its defense budget from just over 1% of GDP — the second-lowest share of all European NATO members — to the 2% committed by all allies “in the next decade.”

Two of the most-watched items at the summit will be Russia and China when it comes to NATO’s new strategic roadmap for the next 10 years.

Sánchez said the “Strategic Concept,” which was last updated in Lisbon in 2010, will see Russia transformed from being considered a NATO partner to becoming “the principal threat to the security of the Atlantic Alliance.”

Regarding China, Sánchez said that Beijing “represents a challenge that also offers opportunities for collaboration,” indicating that Spain doesn’t support classifying Beijing’s assertiveness as a threat, as some allies may want.

Pressed by the global disruption the Ukraine war is unleashing on energy and food supplies and the prospect of a serious recession, some European leaders have started to call for a negotiated end of the war, even if that involves territorial sacrifices by Ukraine.

But Sánchez steered clear of supporting those calls.

“It’s a decision that Ukraine must take, not us,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Cargo vessels are anchored offshore near oil platforms, before heading into the Los Angeles-...
Associated Press

Federal study: New climate law to slice carbon pollution 40%

Clean energy incentives in the new spending package signed this week by President Joe Biden will trim America’s emissions of heat-trapping gases by about 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons) by 2030, a new Department of Energy analysis shows. The first official federal calculations, shared with The Associated Press before its release Thursday, say […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Los Angeles man sentenced to life for 5 random killings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man who opened fire on people at random in 2014, killing five people and wounding seven others, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Alexander Hernandez, 42, from the city’s Sylmar neighborhood, was sentenced to multiple consecutive life terms for the rampage. The […]
19 hours ago
Nyamal Dei, a school board member in Fargo, N.D., is greeted by Vietnam veteran David Halcrow follo...
Associated Press

North Dakota school board reinstates Pledge of Allegiance

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The school board in North Dakota’s most populous city reversed course Thursday on its decision to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at its monthly meetings, following complaints from the state’s conservative governor and lawmakers along with widespread bashing from citizens around the country.. Seven of the nine members of the […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Louise Billiot, left, a member of the United Houma Nation Indian tribe, walks around the hom...
Associated Press

FEMA declares new strategy to engage Native American tribes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has developed a new strategy to better engage with hundreds of Native American tribes as they face climate change-related disasters, the agency announced Thursday. FEMA will include the 574 federally recognized tribal nations in discussions about possible future dangers from climate change. It has earmarked $50 million in grants for […]
19 hours ago
FILE - This photo provided on Aug. 14, 2022, by the North Korean government, Kim Yo Jong, sister of...
Associated Press

North Korea dismisses Seoul’s aid-for-disarmament offer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says her country will never accept South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s “foolish” offer of economic benefits in exchange for denuclearization steps, accusing Seoul of recycling past proposals Pyongyang already rejected. In a commentary published on Friday’s edition of North Korea’s […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Suspect in I-85 shootings had 2,000 rounds of ammo

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A man arrested in connection with three interstate shootings in Alabama and Georgia had more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition and an alarming number of firearms in his car, police said Thursday. The Auburn Police Department also said they so far have not found a motive for the “seemingly random shootings.” […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
The AP Interview: Spanish PM says NATO summit to show unity