Madrid, Nov 20 (EFE).- Spain’s King Felipe VI on Sunday sent a message of support and solidarity “to the courageous Ukrainian people” and their leaders, saying that the war there – “far from damaging the unity and the solidarity” of the NATO member nations – has “strengthened it in an extraordinary way.”
The king, accompanied by Queen Letizia, at the royal palace in Madrid welcomed the leaders participating in the 68th parliamentary assembly of NATO, with almost 300 representatives of the 30 nations of the Atlantic Alliance and 20 associate countries gathering in the Spanish capital.
Before the monarch delivered his speech, the royal couple greeted Spanish legislative leaders and other government officials, along with some 70 members of the Spanish Assembly.
Felipe expressed his, and Spain’s, solidarity with the Ukrainian people, with the applause of the attendees interrupting his words on numerous occasions.
“War has once again dramatically struck Europe in 2022. Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine has not only caused the dark spread of death and destruction throughout its territory, but has also brought to the doors of NATO extremely serious and unacceptable damage to peace and the rules-based international order,” he said.
Felipe said that the conflict Russia launched on its neighbor nine months ago had brought “dramatic” consequences. “However, this conflict and the international crisis, far from damaging trans-Atlantic unity and solidarity, has strengthened it in an extraordinary way.”
He said that the NATO summit held in Madrid in June represented “clear, firm and unanimous proof” of the reaffirmation of the “principles and values” of its partners, contributed “strategic depth” to the alliance and resulted in the adoption of an “ambitious” joint program of measures that provide the necessary tools to strengthen “deterrence and defense” and to face the challenges of the coming decade.
He called 2022 “the year of NATO” in Spain, as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of its joining the alliance, and he reiterated Madrid’s “unbreakable” commitment to the alliance.
The king also acknowledged the “noteworthy and exemplary” performance of Spanish troops on assorted NATO missions and in the alliance’s operations.