SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, everyone. First, let me just say I’m so delighted to welcome Foreign Minister Rasmussen here to the State Department, to the United States, and for this, I think, very important occasion. We’ve had the opportunity, Lars and I, to spend a fair bit of quality time at NATO and other places, but it’s particularly good to have you here in Washington.
For nearly 75 years, the United States and Denmark have been close security partners and NATO Allies. Our forces are working to protect communities from terror in the Sahel. We’re upholding freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz. We’re strengthening deterrence together in the Baltics.
Denmark continues to play a leading role in ensuring Putin’s war on Ukraine remains a strategic failure.
It was one of the first countries to commit to supplying F-16s to Ukraine and to train Ukrainian pilots to fly them. Earlier this month, Denmark pledged to provide $1 billion worth of tanks, drones, ammunition, and to jointly fund the donation of new Swedish armored personnel characters – carriers, excuse me – all of which will help Ukraine defend its territory and its democracy.
Our countries together are committed to enabling Ukraine to stand on its own, to stand on its own strongly – militarily, economically, democratically. That’s why President Biden’s supplemental budget request is so critical, and why we’ll continue to work with Congress to pass it.
The Defense Cooperation Agreement that we’re about to sign will further strengthen security collaboration between our two countries.
When it takes effect, our militaries will be able to coordinate more effectively, even more effectively than they already are. Our troops will train together more seamlessly and more often. We’ll enhance NATO’s interoperability, allowing our Alliance to better safeguard peace and stability for people all across the continent.
Today’s agreement builds on the work that we’ve done to deepen defense cooperation with allies across the Atlantic – from Northern to 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 accord with Sweden. Earlier this week, we signed one with Finland. Collectively, these agreements underscore the shared commitment by the United States and our European partners to bolster European and transatlantic security.
Denmark remains an essential partner in this effort. Lars and I will have a chance to sit down after we sign this agreement, to go through the many issues and the many areas where the United States and Denmark together are dealing with the challenges of our time. We could not be more grateful to have such a strong, such a valued, such an important partner. It gives me a great source of confidence as we head into the future, knowing that our two countries not only remain strongly allied but, after today, even stronger.
FOREIGN MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I am indeed honored and happy and glad that we could make this happen, and right before Christmas. I think that will complete my working year. I visited you here in January as one of my first international meetings, and this will probably – at least I hope so – will be the last international travel before Christmas Eve. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY BLINKEN: My wish as well.
FOREIGN MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Yeah. So, Tony, you and I are from the same generation. We are almost the same age. We have seen history unfold at the same time in our lives, and perhaps that is why we both firmly believe in the transatlantic bond and a close alliance between Europe and the United States.
Denmark and the United States are close friends and close allies, and now we are taking our security cooperation to the next level. The Defense Cooperation Agreement is an important agreement that will bolster our bilateral security and defense cooperation. It will also enhance our cooperation in NATO and in the Nordic region.
And as you just mentioned, you have made similar agreements with our Nordic friends, and we are looking very much forward to welcoming our close Nordic neighbor and country Sweden to NATO sooner rather than later. And this defense agreement is a stepping stone towards a more secure Nordic region. It is a part of a parcel we have made during the last couple of years – enhancing our defense budget, welcoming new members to the NATO Alliance, and now these bilateral agreements. It will strengthen European and transatlantic security at a defining moment in history where we need it the most.
Mr. Secretary, we are facing multiple crises. Russia is still waging a brutal war on the European continent; terror in Israel; a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. And we both know that peace and stability cannot be taken for granted. And in time like this, friends must stick together, and that is what we are doing with this agreement.
So again, thank you, Tony. As I just wrote in your guestbook, you can always count on us, and we will always count on you. And I look forward to our conversation. But first, let us sign this agreement.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Good morning. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Rasmussen are signing a Defense Cooperation Agreement between the United States and Denmark. The agreement sets forth the framework for enhanced defense and security cooperation and partnership between our countries. As an original NATO membership – NATO member, Denmark is a longstanding, essential ally and strategic partnership – partner. We look forward to deepening our already close cooperation.
(The agreement was signed.)
SECRETARY BLINKEN: All right. We’ll hold this one up.
FOREIGN MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Yes. Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you, everybody.