BRUSSELS, Belgium – We, the ministers of foreign affairs of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), meet [today] in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic which is affecting all Allies and partners, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. We express our deepest sympathies with all the victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and with all those affected by its consequences. We pay tribute to the health care workers, as well as all the others who are on the front line in our battle against this disease.
These include the men and women in uniform who continue to work daily for our collective security. And we thank our citizens who understand that working together, we will defeat this challenge more quickly and save lives.
NATO is doing its part. Allies are supporting each other – including with medical professionals, hospital beds, vital medical equipment, and best practices and ideas on how to fight this deadly disease. We are airlifting critical medical supplies from across the globe, providing medical personnel, essential materials, and vital equipment from military and civilian sources, and harnessing our medical, scientific, and technological knowledge and resources to help deliver innovative responses.
Allies are also working together to ensure public access to transparent, timely, and accurate information, which is critical to overcoming this pandemic and to combating disinformation. Because we need a coordinated and comprehensive approach, NATO is working closely with other international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the European Union.
Even as we do the absolute maximum to contain and then overcome this challenge, NATO remains active, focused and ready to perform its core tasks: collective defence, crisis management, and cooperative security. Our ability to conduct our operations and assure deterrence and defence against all the threats we face is unimpaired. And we have today taken further decisions to enhance NATO’s role in facing current and future security challenges.
We welcome North Macedonia as NATO’s 30th Ally. As we face this unprecedented challenge, our 30 nations stand together in solidarity and transatlantic unity.