Secretary Blinken: Well, hello everyone. First of all, I just want to say that I’m very happy to welcome Foreign Minister Rasmussen here at the State Department, here in the United States, and I think this is a very important opportunity. Lars and I have had the opportunity to spend some pretty good time at NATO and other places, but we’re especially happy to have you here in Washington.
For nearly 75 years, the United States and Denmark have been close security partners and NATO allies. Our armed forces work to protect communities from terrorism in the Sahel. We support freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz. Together we are strengthening deterrence in the Baltic States.
Denmark continues to play a leading role in ensuring that President Putin’s war against Ukraine remains a strategic failure.
It was one of the first countries to commit to supplying Ukraine with F-16s and training Ukrainian pilots to fly them. Earlier this month, Denmark pledged to provide $1 billion worth of tanks, drones, and ammunition, and to co-finance Sweden’s donation of a new armored personnel character (sorry, aircraft carrier). All this will help protect Ukraine’s territory and democracy.
Both countries are committed to ensuring that Ukraine becomes militarily, economically and democratically independent and strongly self-reliant. That’s why President Biden’s supplemental budget request is so important and why we will continue to work with Congress to pass it.
The defense cooperation agreement we are about to sign will further strengthen security cooperation between our two countries.
Once it goes into effect, our armed forces will be able to work together even more effectively than they currently do. Our military will train together more seamlessly and more frequently. We will strengthen NATO interoperability and enable our alliance to better protect peace and stability for people across the continent.
Today’s agreement builds on the work we have done to deepen defense cooperation with our transatlantic allies, from northern and southern Europe, from the Baltics to the Black Sea.
In 2021, we signed a defense cooperation agreement with Norway. Earlier this month, we signed a similar agreement with Sweden. He signed a contract with Finland earlier this week. Taken together, these agreements underscore the shared commitment of the United States and its European partners to strengthen European and transatlantic security.
Denmark remains an essential partner in this effort. Lars and I will have the opportunity, after we sign this agreement, to sit down and consider the many issues and many areas where the United States and Denmark are together addressing the challenges of our time. I couldn’t be more grateful to have such a strong, valuable, and important partner. Knowing that our two countries not only remain strong allies, but even stronger after today, gives me great confidence as we look to the future.
Foreign Minister Rasmussen: Thank you, secretary. We are truly honored and delighted to have been able to make this happen just before Christmas. I think this is the end of my year’s work. I visited here in January for one of my first international conferences, and this will probably, at least I hope, be my last trip abroad before Christmas Eve. (Laughter.)
Secretary Blinken: My wish too.
Foreign Minister Rasmussen: Yeah. Tony, you and I are the same generation. we are about the same age. We have all seen history unfold simultaneously in our lives. And perhaps that is why we both believe so strongly in transatlantic ties and a close alliance between Europe and the United States.
Denmark and the United States are close friends and allies, and we are now taking our security cooperation to the next level. The Defense Cooperation Agreement is an important agreement that strengthens bilateral security and defense cooperation. It will also strengthen our cooperation in NATO and the Nordic region.
And, as you just mentioned, you have similar agreements with our Nordic friends, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming our close Nordic neighbor Sweden into NATO as soon as possible. This defense agreement is a stepping stone towards a safer Nordic region. This is part of the agreements we have made over the past few years, including expanding our defense budget, welcoming new members to the NATO alliance, and now this bilateral agreement. It will strengthen European and transatlantic security at a critical moment in history when we need it most.
Mr. Secretary, we are facing multiple crises. Russia is still waging a brutal war on the European continent. Israeli terrorism. The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. And we both know that peace and stability cannot be taken for granted. And it is times like these that friends must come together. That is also what we are doing with this agreement.
So, once again, thank you, Tony. As I wrote in the guestbook earlier, you can always count on us, and we will always be able to count on you. And I look forward to our conversation. But first, let’s sign this agreement.
Secretary Blinken: thank you.
Moderator: good morning. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Rasmussen signed the U.S.-Denmark defense cooperation agreement. The agreement sets out a framework for strengthening defense and security cooperation and partnership between the two countries. Denmark, a NATO member, has been an important ally and strategic partnership partner for many years. We look forward to further deepening our already close cooperation.
(The agreement has been signed.)
Secretary Blinken: Okay. I’ll keep this on hold.
Foreign Minister Rasmussen: yes. thank you.
Secretary Blinken: thank you everyone.