Press Release

Anders Fogh Rasmussen launches high-level group to support democratic Armenia.

Former Danish Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has launched a new high-level group to galvanise support for democratic Armenia and promote peace in the South Caucasus.

The Friends of Armenia Network, which includes former prime ministers, parliamentarians, and diplomats, aims to bring Armenia closer to like-minded democracies in Europe and around the world.

The group met for the first time yesterday remotely and was briefed on the latest political developments by the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan.

Speaking after the launch of the group, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:

“In the last few days, Azerbaijan launched a major offensive against the ethnic-Armenian population in Nagorno Karabakh. There is a significant danger of ethnic cleansing occurring if the international community does not act.

“Azerbaijan’s actions make the work of this new group even more important. Armenia is a fledgling democracy in an incredibly difficult and dangerous neighbourhood. The Armenian government is making an active effort to improve relations with other democratic countries in Europe and beyond. Our group is committed to supporting Armenia in those efforts, and supporting a sustainable peace in the region.

“This was the inaugural meeting of our group, over the coming months, we will put forward new ideas and proposals to strengthen Armenia’s place in the democratic family of nations.”

Note to editors:

Anders Fogh Rasmussen is chairman of the Friends of Armenia Network. Other members include:

Mikuláš Dzurinda – Martens Centre President, Minister of Foreign affairs (2010-2012), Prime Minister of Slovakia (1998 -2006)

Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz – Member of the European Parliament (2009-…), Marshal of the Sejm (2005), Minister of Foreign affairs (2001 – 2005), Prime Minister of Poland (1996 – 1977)

Anne-Laurence Petel – Member of the French Assemblée nationale (2017-…), Chair of the parliamentary friendship group with Armenia (2022-…)

Raimundas Lopata – Member of the Lithuanian Seimas (2020-…), Chair of the parliamentary friendship group with Armenia (2020-…)

Štefan Füle – Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy (2010-2014), Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs (2009)

Dietmar Nietan – Member of the German Bundestag (1998-2002, 2005-…), Treasurer of the Social Democratic Party

Els Van Hoof – Member of Belgian Chambre des représentants (2014-2019, 2019-…), Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs (2019-…), Senator (2008, 2009-2014)

Charles Flanagan – Member of the Irish Oireachtas (2020-…), Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (2020-…), Minister of Justice (2017-2020), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2014-2017)

Since March 2023, Rasmussen Global has been working with the Armenian government to help improve connections with the European Union and the wider democratic world.

Press Release Ukraine

Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Vilnius Summit and G7 Security Pact for Ukraine

Statement by former NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the Vilnius NATO summit and G7 declaration on support for Ukraine:

“Today G7 members will adopt a wide-ranging security pact with Ukraine in Vilnius. This is an important moment and it is welcome that it happens on the sidelines of the NATO summit. It shows Ukraine’s partners are united in moving from the ad-hoc support provided to date to a long-term vision from Ukraine’s security.

This agreement is built on the Kyiv Security Compact that I authored with the President Zelenskyy’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak. It includes the four central elements that we proposed: transfer of NATO standard weapons, enhanced intelligence sharing, a major expansion of training and exercises with Ukrainian forces, and support to develop Ukraine’s military industrial base. Its purpose is clear, to ensure that Ukraine wins this war and make sure Russia is never able to do this again.

Despite welcome developments on security guarantees, the NATO summit has disappointed when it comes to outlining a clear path to Ukraine’s membership. Security guarantees are not an end destination for Ukraine – they are designed to provide stability while Ukraine moves towards NATO and EU membership. Vilnius was an opportunity to set out these next steps clearly, instead there was only a promise that Ukraine will be invited when unspecified “conditions are met.”

Since 2008, Ukraine has been left in NATO’s waiting room. This is a dangerous place to be. If we want to move on from the mistakes of the past, the new Ukraine-NATO Council must not be another talking shop. Instead, it must focus on practical questions to move Ukraine’s NATO aspirations forward, with a concrete timeline. By next year’s NATO summit in Washington, NATO leaders should be able to extend an invitation for Ukraine to join the alliance. Only when this happens will Vladimir Putin understand that Ukraine’s future is at the heart of NATO, and there is nothing he can do to prevent it.”


Extract of speech by Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Ukraine’s NATO membership

The following is an extract from a speech by Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlining the case for Ukraine’s NATO membership. The speech was given in Vilnius on 14 June 2023.


Next month, NATO leaders will meet in Vilnius,

Personally, I would be in favor of extending an invitation to Ukraine to join NATO. I have been reflecting carefully on this issue because it would be the first time that we invite into NATO a country that is at war. That requires careful consideration.

I have reached this conclusion for three reasons. First: In 2008 we decided that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. But we did not provide a roadmap. Now Ukraine has been in the waiting room for 15 years. It is not a safe place. The waiting room is surrounded by a gang of thugs, who are attacking those staying in the waiting room. Time has come to move Ukraine into a safe place – as we are doing with Finland and Sweden.

Second: It is often argued that the prospect of NATO enlargement incited Putin. The truth is the opposite. It was the failure to extend security guarantees to Ukraine that incited Putin. Grey zones are danger zones. Neutrality provides no security. Finland and Sweden realized that.

Third: Often I hear the argument that we cannot give Ukraine neither security guarantees, nor membership of NATO, while there is a war going on. That is an extremely dangerous argument. If you make security guarantees and NATO membership dependent on cessation of hostilities, you are giving Putin an incentive to continue the war to prevent Ukrainian membership of NATO.

By extending an invitation now, we are telling Putin: Ukraine will become a member of NATO. You cannot stop this process. Our door is open for Ukraine, and you are not the doorman.

If allies cannot find consensus on an invitation to Ukraine in Vilnius, the second-best option would be to outline the path towards NATO membership in two steps.

First step would be to remove a Membership Action Plan as a prerequisite for taking the next step towards NATO membership. We did not require a Membership Action Plan for Finland and Sweden. The same accelerated path should be offered to Ukraine. The Ukrainian army is probably the most combat ready army in Europe.

Next step could be a pledge in Vilnius to review the question of NATO enlargement at the NATO summit in Washington DC next year, where we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of NATO.

Let me stress: An invitation to Ukraine does not imply accession overnight. After the invitation, we will have to work out several practicalities regarding article 5 of the NATO treaty. Which area will be covered by article 5? How will we react if and when there will be new clashes between Ukraine and Russia in the occupied territories?

In the best case, those issues will be solved by the Ukrainians themselves, when they kick all Russian troops from Ukrainian soil. If not, we will have to find appropriate answers to these questions. They are serious topics for allies that take article 5 and the security guarantees seriously. We must find the right solution for commitments that could include the deployment of troops and military equipment to Ukraine.

Regardless, Ukraine will need security guarantees until the it is a full member of NATO. We need strong measures to deter any further Russian aggression.

That is the purpose of the Kyiv Security Compact that I co-authored with President Zelenskyy’s Chief of Staff Andrii Yermak. These security guarantees will not replace Ukrainian membership of NATO. But they will build the bridge and protect Ukraine until it is covered by NATO’s article 5.


Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to visit Armenia

Rasmussen Global founder Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrives today in Yerevan for a two-day visit to Armenia. During the trip, he will meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and other leading public officials. The former NATO Secretary General will also meet with figures from civil society and visit the Armenian regions most affected by the ongoing incursions by neighbouring Azerbaijan.

The visit aims to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis caused by the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, and the outside world.

Speaking ahead of the visit to Armenia, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:

“Europe cannot close its eyes to a humanitarian crisis happening on our doorstep. The ongoing blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijani actors is putting thousands of lives at risk. Since December, no civilian or commercial traffic has been able to reach Nagorno-Karabakh. This has left some 120,000 ethnic Armenian residents without access to essential goods and services, including life-saving medication and health care. Ongoing attacks on civil infrastructure, including gas an electricity supply, have also created far-reaching impacts on the economy, education and healthcare.”

“Unless Europe and the wider international community act, these risks becoming a humanitarian catastrophe. The EU must use its relationship with Azerbaijan, to push them to lift the blockade and fulfil their broader international commitments.

“I am also in Yerevan to show my support for Armenia’s burgeoning democracy. Since 2018, Armenia has made important steps forward. In a period when democratic rights have slipped globally, Armenia is the welcome exception. We must strengthen the relationship between the EU and Armenia, to secure peace in the region and support the Armenian people’s desire for a future based on stability, freedom, and democracy.”

For media requests during the visit, please contact Rasmussen Global Communications Director Tim Allan at

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