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Shaheen & Tillis Lead Press Availability with Bipartisan Congressional Delegation in Madrid, Conclude NATO Summit

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From left to right: Senators Blunt, Tillis, Ernst, Shaheen, Fischer, Coons and Durbin at the NATO Summit in Madrid earlier today.  

(Madrid) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, led their bipartisan congressional delegation in a media availability following the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Madrid. The delegation included U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). Shaheen and Tillis led the delegation’s visit and participation in the NATO Summit in Madrid after previously stopping in Finland and Sweden to meet with heads of state and partake in other important bilateral meetings. Earlier this week, the delegation issued a joint statement lauding the newly announced agreement that led to Turkey supporting Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO. 

“With the conclusion of the NATO Summit, I believe our entire delegation would agree on the immense success of this visit. We began our journey in Finland and Sweden, and before we landed in Madrid, there was an agreement for Turkey to support both nations’ accession applications,” said Senator Shaheen. “Throughout the summit, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with our partners around the world – from Japan to Ukraine – and to engage with aspirant countries who are working to make important democratic reforms, with NATO and greater Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations in mind. We came into this summit with the understanding of the precarious security situation of our world today, largely due to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and his incessant campaign of aggression against democracies around the globe. We met with President Biden and Secretaries Austin and Blinken, and held round-the-clock bilateral meetings to effectively communicate the message our delegation sought to reaffirm on the world stage: the United States is united across party lines in support of NATO and in repudiation of Putin’s belligerence, and is committed to addressing global security challenges together. I want to thank the Spanish government for hosting this year’s important summit, my Senate NATO Observer Group co-chair and co-lead of this delegation, Senator Thom Tillis, and all of the participating Senators who made this diplomatic effort a worthy and successful effort.” 

"I was proud to lead this bipartisan delegation with Senator Shaheen at the NATO Summit. We have never faced more challenges to peace and stability since the end of the Cold War as Putin continues his illegal invasion of Ukraine, which is part of his plan to rebuild the Russian empire. If he gets away with stripping territory from Ukraine, he will not stop there, which is why a strong and united NATO is vital to avoiding further aggression,” said Senator Tillis. “In the weeks ahead, I look forward to working with Senator Shaheen to advance the Senate’s ratification of admitting Sweden and Finland as the newest members of the NATO Alliance.” 

“As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, must stand united,” said Senator Durbin. “The transatlantic alliance has never been more crucial to global security and stability, and we must continue to stand in strong opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by Putin. I’m glad we strengthened our relationship this week in Madrid and I thank the democratic world leaders from across the globe who joined my Senate colleagues at the summit. I look forward to our continued partnership.” 

“It has been an honor to join with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to meet with partners and allies from around the globe to discuss the future of NATO and a path forward for tackling the challenges that face our world, including commitments that will help combat the global food crisis, continue our support for Ukrainian resistance, and bring Finland and Sweden into the alliance,” said Senator Coons. “At this critical juncture, the Madrid Summit has indicated to the world that NATO’s commitment to our shared values remains absolute and that the Alliance is stronger than ever.” 

“The United States and our NATO allies are united against Vladimir Putin’s aggression and steadfast in our support of nations that share our commitment to freedom and democracy,” said Senator Blunt. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with leaders in Finland and Sweden and express our strong, bipartisan support for their NATO membership. I hope our delegation’s visit to the NATO Summit will facilitate even closer cooperation in addressing challenges and pursuing opportunities to strengthen the security and prosperity of all of our nations.” 

“NATO plays a key defensive role that provides security for all Americans. It was an honor to represent our state and the Senate Armed Services Committee at this historic summit,” said Senator Fischer. “These meetings are an opportunity to strengthen this critical alliance in an increasingly dangerous world.” 

“Adding Finland and Sweden to our strongest multinational alliance will grow NATO’s military capabilities and in turn strengthen America’s capacity to defend the homeland. I’m encouraged the NATO strategic concept focuses on defeating and deterring Putin and seeks to prioritize China as the principal threat to safety and prosperity around the world,” said Senator Ernst. “I will continue to steer our NATO allies, old and new, to meet their financial and manpower obligations to collective security, and I will also continue to push our administration and our allies to deliver the weapons necessary for Ukraine to defeat Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime and win this fight.” 

As co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, Shaheen and Tillis recently led a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in a joint statement of support and a letter to President Biden, calling for Finland and Sweden’s swift accession into NATO in response to the respective nations announcing their intent to join the transatlantic Alliance. The Senate NATO Observer Group, re-established by Shaheen and Tillis in 2018, has an expanded mission to closely monitor and inform Senators outside of national security committees about defense spending commitments of Alliance members, the process of upgrading military capabilities, the Alliance’s counter-terrorism capability, NATO enlargement and the ability of NATO member states to address unconventional warfare threats.