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Address to the Seimas of Lithuania by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, former Secretary General of NATO

28 March 2024


Official portrait of Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, former Secretary General of NATO  


Draft Speech on the occasion of anniversary of Lithuania’s entry to NATO


It is a great pleasure to speak today to the Seimas on this anniversary of Lithuania’s entry to NATO.

It is an especial pleasure for me since I personally brought down my gavel in Prague in 2002 on your invitation to join the Alliance.

On the 75th anniversary of the Alliance itself, the 20th anniversary of the biggest single enlargement is particularly significant. The accession of the three Baltic States was historic, not just because of the number, but by bringing in the former states of the USSR, it marked a dramatic moment in our time.

Lithuania, which I remember well – both by being in the country and around the North Atlantic Council table, has played a hugely important role in NATO. Your troops and diplomats have been in the forefront of all engagements in these twenty years.

And now this Alliance of free nations is facing its biggest challenge since it saw off the Soviet Union. Russia’s unprovoked, illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine has faced Europe and the world with a serious, almost existential, challenge.

One man, Vladimir Putin who stood beside me in Rome in 2002 and said this;  “Ukraine is a sovereign, independent state which will make its own decisions about peace and security.”

Now he says it is not a country at all and that, by force, it will be destroyed and merged into his deluded vision of an expanded Russia.

Make no mistake, if he gets away with this war of aggression he will not stop with Ukraine. His ambition will be limitless unless we in the West, along with others who should see the implications of changing borders by force, don’t remain united and keep providing the military help to Ukraine which it needs - and when it needs it.

Ukraine may not yet be a member of NATO, as Lithuania proudly is, but the fight they are putting up for their nation, their lives and for a free future is a fight for our future as well.

I offer my congratulations today to you in the Parliament of Lithuania, I commend you for what you have done in two decades, and hope that you, and I, can look forward to a peaceful united and democratic European future.

Happy anniversary.


   Last updated on 03/28/2024 14:52
   Monika Kutkaitytė