Blinken says no change to NATO’s open-door policy

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Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a written response had been delivered to Russian officials in an effort to avert an invasion of Ukraine. While Blinken did not give the letter’s details, he said NATO has not changed the alliance’s open-door policy, which gives any European country the opportunity to join the organization.

Video Transcript

- I realize that you don't want to get into the specifics of what is actually in this document. And although I'm sure I and my colleagues will continue to try to get them, but can you say-- more broadly, when you say that there are core principles that you're committed to and to uphold and defend, does that mean that in this document you told the Russians pointblank in writing that no is the answer to their demand for a formal bar on the expansion of NATO, the permanent exclusion of Ukraine, and the withdrawal of certain forces and equipment from Eastern Europe? Is that what this says? Is there anything different in this document than what we have heard publicly over the course of the last couple of weeks?

ANTONY BLINKEN: Again, without going into the specifics of the document, I can tell you that it reiterates what we said publicly for many weeks and in a sense for many, many years that we will uphold the principle of NATO's open door and that's-- as I've said repeatedly in recent weeks, a commitment that that we're bound to. And so the document, as I said, makes very clear some of the basic principles that we are standing by, committed to, and will uphold, much of which has been stated in public, including by me in recent days and weeks. And that goes to NATO's open door policy.

- So you would say that it is accurate to say that there are no concessions in this?

ANTONY BLINKEN: This isn't about concessions--

- Well, there is no change in the US or NATO position in this document.

ANTONY BLINKEN: First of all, there is no change. There will be no change. Second, we reiterate that principle.

Of course, it is for NATO, not the United States unilaterally to discuss the open door policy. These are decisions that NATO makes as an alliance, not the United States unilaterally.

But from our perspective, I can't be more clear. NATO's door is open, remains open. And that is our commitment.