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NATO secretary general dodges questions about Biden’s mental fitness

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appeared to dodge questions about President Biden’s mental fitness to lead NATO on a tumultuous world stage, telling Fox News on Sunday he refuses to become a part of domestic U.S. debate.

“What I can say is that I just had, a couple of weeks ago, a good and productive meeting with President Biden in the Oval Office, and that we, this week, will make important decisions at the NATO summit in Washington on deterrence, defense, on Ukraine, and also to work more closely with our Asia-Pacific partners to address the threats and challenges posed by China,” he told Fox News’ Joey Jones.

He continued: “Of course, all these decisions that will take place this week would not have been possible without U.S. leadership, so I look forward to an important summit in Washington this week.”

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President Joe Biden

President Biden’s mental acuity has been a hot topic since his debate with former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

His appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend” came as world leaders are slated to meet in Washington, D.C., for the 75th NATO anniversary summit.

It also comes just over a week after President Biden’s mental acuity was thrust into media conversations following his performance while debating former President Donald Trump.

Jones, who pressed Stoltenberg on the issue, emphasized U.S. national security concerns and international interests such as those in Ukraine. He then asked Stoltenberg if he had personally witnessed any evidence of cognitive decline from the president.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin sits in chair with suit

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 19, 2023. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of consequences to come should Russia win the war against Ukraine. ((Photo by ALEXANDER KAZAKOV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images))

“If I start to answer questions like that, I will be dragged into a U.S. internal debate, and the reason why NATO is the most successful alliance in history, is that we have stayed out of domestic, personal issues, and I aim to continue to do so,” he replied. “The big thing is that we are making a lot of progress together. For instance, on defense spending, European allies are now spending record high on defense. Twenty-three allies are spending more than 2%, which is a NATO guideline on defense. That is huge progress,” he added. 

Stoltenberg also sounded off on the topic of supporting Ukraine, which is slated to be an integral part of this week’s discussions at the summit. He emphasized that the war’s implications are not restricted to just Ukraine and Russia but also reach to other countries that have been in the spotlight recently, including China, Iran and North Korea, who have all been identified as supporting Russia in the war.

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“If President Putin wins in Ukraine, it will not only embolden President Putin, it will also embolden President Xi and demonstrate how authoritarian leaders in Beijing or Moscow will get their way when they use military force. Therefore, it’s in our security interest to support Ukraine. It’s not charity. It’s in our interest to, to provide support to Ukraine,” he said.

Amid conversations about NATO and Ukraine, speculations that the country could join the alliance linger. Stoltenberg said, however, he doesn’t expect they will be given an invitation.

“We will help to ensure that Ukraine can move closer to membership and by providing training equipment to ensure that the Ukrainian forces move towards meeting NATO standards, but not a decision on membership,” he added.

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