Vilnius Town Hall
8:39 A.M. EEST
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good morning, everyone. I’m just going to be super brief. I just wanted to welcome everyone to Vilnius, Lithuania, for the seventy- — 74th — 75th NATO S- — 74th NATO Summit.
Anyway, as you all know, we have the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan here to take any questions you all have. And so I’m just going to kick it off to him since he has a short — a short amount of time.
MR. SULLIVAN: Thanks, Karine. And good morning to everybody. I hope you’re doing well.
Today is a good day. We’re coming into this consequential NATO Summit with a full head of steam. The President released a statement last night welcoming the agreement between Türkiye, Sweden, and the NATO Secretary-General, including President Erdoğan’s commitment to transmit Sweden’s accession protocols for ratification.
While this deal was, of course, the product of direct talks among the three parties to that agreement — NATO, Türkiye, and Sweden — the United States had significant recent engagement with everyone involved. The President hosted the Swedish Prime Minister at the White House last week. He called President Erdoğan on Sunday, and he’ll look forward to meeting with President Erdoğan this weekend — this evening as well to discuss the full range of issues in our relationship.
Secretary Blinken has been regularly speaking with his Turkish counterpart throughout this process, and I’ve had multiple conversations with both my Swedish and my Turkish counterparts in the past few days, including yesterday.
At every turn, we supported the efforts by Sweden, Türkiye, and NATO to reach an understanding that would allow Sweden’s accession in the Turkish Parliament to move forward and therefore, Sweden’s membership in NATO to move forward. And we very much look forward to welcoming Sweden as NATO’s 32nd Ally in the near future.
Soon, we will be able to say that since this war began — since Russia invaded Ukraine, we have wel- — will have welcomed two new members of NATO with strong militaries, expanding both the size and the strength of the Alliance. And it is a particularly strong signal the two historically non-aligned countries have chosen at this moment in history to join the NATO Alliance.
The President will start today by meeting with the Lithuanian President and thanking him for hosting the NATO Summit. The President, in that meeting, will reaffirm our ironclad support for Article 5 and for reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank. In fact, the President has bolstered our force posture following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. And indeed, we have rotating U.S. military personnel right here in Lithuania.
Then the President will meet with members of Congress who are here at the summit, including the leaders of the Senate NATO Observer Group, as part of our close coordination with Congress.
When the NATO Summit gets underway, our Alliance will not only be bigger and stronger than ever, it will be more united, more purposeful, and more energized than at any point in modern memory.
And this is in no small part thanks to President Biden’s personal leadership. He has devoted significant time — dozens, if not hundreds, of hours over the past two and a half years — to restoring America’s place on the world stage; to rebuilding and revitalizing our alliances and partnerships, including NATO; and to rallying the world to respond forcefully and effectively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
So today and tomorrow, the Alliance is going to come together to address serious challenges and to modernize our defer- — deterrence and defense capabilities.
Among other things, Allies will adopt a new NATO Force Model, which will increase readiness and capacity. Allies will agree to increase defense spending and adopt a new Defense Investment Pledge. More Allies are above 2 percent today or on a path to get there. We will agree that 2 percent should be a floor, not a ceiling. And we will agree that it is important for all Al- — NATO Allies to spend more to contribute to our collective defense.
This builds on the progress that we have made. 2023 is the ninth consecutive year of increased defense spending by non-U.S. Allies. Allies are now working to strengthen their defense industrial bases, boosting production of critical weapons and equipment.
At the summit, we will also see Allies come together around bolstering our cyber resilience and our cyber defense through increased coordination. And we will see the Alliance expand global partnerships with Indo-Pacific partners and the European Union.
Of course, Ukraine will be a big focus. Tomorrow will be the very first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council. Allies will agree on a new package of increased support for Ukraine, look at Ukraine’s long-term needs, and expand plans for Ukraine’s interoperability with NATO.
Allies will also discuss Ukraine’s path to future membership in NATO. As President Biden noted, bringing Ukraine into the Alliance now, here in Vilnius, would bring NATO into war with Russia. Also Ukraine has further steps to take along its reform path. But Allies will send a united positive signal on Ukraine’s path to future member- — membership in the Alliance.
The President will have the chance tomorrow to meet with President Zelenskyy. They’ll discuss how the U.S., alongside our allies and partners, are prepared to make long-term commitments to help Ukraine defend itself now and to deter future aggression. And there will be further announcements on how these long-term commitments will come forward during the day tomorrow. That’s on top of the historic support that the United States has already provided over the course of the past 16 months.
Tomorrow night, before departing Vilnius, the President will give a major speech highlighting how the United States, along with our allies and partners, is supporting Ukraine, defending democratic values, and taking action to address global challenges.
And I’ll say one final thing. We have appreciated Secretary General Stoltenberg’s leadership throughout this critical period when European security has been tested, when the rules-based international system has been tested. We are grateful for his leadership reaching a deal with Türkiye and Sweden last night. And you will see Allies recognize that leadership as well quite concretely by unanimous — unanimously endorsing his extension as NATO Secretary-General for another year.
So with that — and I’m sorry that was all a mouthful, but there is a lot of substance in this summit, a lot to get through over the course of the next 48 hours.
With that, I’ll be happy to take your questions.
Q Thanks, Jake. Can you address Turkey’s request for F-16s and whether or not that factored into any of the conversations that went on in the leadup to its agreement on Sweden’s potential membership?
MR. SULLIVAN: President Biden has been clear and unequivocal for months that he’s supported the transfer of F-16s to Türkiye, that this is in our national interests. It’s in the interests of NATO that Türkiye get that capability. He has placed no caveats or conditions on that in his public and private comments over the past few months. And he intends to move forward with that transfer in consultation with Congress.
Q Thanks, Jake. This reform path that you’re laying out for Ukraine, how long do you anticipate it will take Ukraine to make those reforms once the war has ended?
MR. SULLIVAN: I can’t put a timetable on it. I don’t believe that you will see that coming out of here. This is about the substance of democratic and security sector reforms, and getting those right. And, of course, that, in many ways, turns on the particular steps that are taken.
From our perspective, it is the work of the Alliance with Ukraine to lay out that reform path and then to have Ukraine work towards it.
They have something called an Annual National Programme. It details many of the steps that they have embraced and are taking. And in fact, in the course of the summit over the next two days, the Alliance will mark a lot of the progress Ukraine has already made, and then have the opportunity to discuss with Ukraine the further steps.
Q But ideally, is this a five-year path? Is this a 10-year path? How soon would you like to see Ukraine become a member of NATO?
MR. SULLIVAN: I can’t put a timetable on it for you.
Q If I could go back to the F-16s, is there a world where the U.S. would be selling these F-16 fighter jets to Turkey before Turkey’s Parliament votes on Sweden’s accession into NATO?
MR. SULLIVAN: The President has said all along that he is interested in getting these F-16s to Türkiye. He has backed that up by actually sending the package to the Congress. And so, we will work with the Congress on the appropriate timing for getting them to Türkiye. But I can’t speculate on the precise day it’s going to happen — only that we support it getting done.
Q Does the United States support Turkey’s application to the EU? And do you believe that Turkey has the democratic values that the united — the European community (inaudible) to make it a member?
MR. SULLIVAN: President Biden has long been on — been on the record supporting Türkiye’s membership in the European Union. The United States continues to support Türkiye getting on the path to membership to the European Union and to seeing talks between the European Union and Türkiye unfold in a way that is constructive for both sides.
Of course, those talks would include discussions of the necessary reforms and steps relative to democratic resilience that every prospective applicant to the European Union goes through, and that would include Türkiye as well.
Q Was this — was this a part of the bargain between Turkey and NATO and the rest of the United States and Europe accepting or of voting for Sweden to join with NATO in return for the EU — for Turkey to the EU?
MR. SULLIVAN: NATO is NATO. The EU is the EU. The United States is not part of the EU. The United States has previously voiced support for Turkey entering these talks with Europe and restarting these talks with Europe on the EU membership. President Biden has had a very long, very public record on this subject, long before the question of Sweden’s membership and NATO ever came onto the table. So, as far as we’re concerned, these issues are not connected.
Q Thank you, Jake. I’ve got a question for you about Ukraine and then one about China. On Ukraine, there’s a new House Judiciary Committee report that says the FBI partnered with a Ukrainian intelligence agency to assess disinformation and censor U.S. social media accounts. Apparently, some accounts of journalists and even one of the State Department were wrapped up in this initiative. What are you able to tell us about the initiative and especially the White House and NSC involvements?
MR. SULLIVAN: I have not seen that report. All I will tell you is that the United States and the Biden administration strongly support press freedom, media freedom, and would support no steps that would be taken to undermine that.
Q (Inaudible.) Yesterday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted a man Gal Luft for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by working without registration for a company called CEFC China Energy. The President’s son and brother worked for the same firm without registration. And the President was invoked in that infamous shakedown text message preceding the transfer of $5 million to the Biden family.
The President allegedly met with their business partners, was penciled in for a 5 — or a 10 percent cut, excuse me, and was listed on a — as a pres- — participant on a call about a attempt to buy U.S. natural gas by CEFC. What’s the White House’s take on the potential (inaudible) — or bar of liability for the First Family and the President here?
MR. SULLIVAN: I’ve not seen that and can’t comment on it.
Q Thanks, Jake. I wanted to follow on — on two of the things. On F-16s, do you have any update? Senator Menendez suggested that he might be warming to the idea. Can you talk about your conversations with him at all?
And then, on Ukraine, you talked about the pathway to reforms. It seems like map — the map has kind of come off the table. But could you talk about what kind of mechanism you’ll be discussing in terms of how Ukraine could get to — to NATO membership in the talks this week?
MR. SULLIVAN: So, Allies are continuing to discuss, this morning, the precise nature of the process with respect to Ukraine’s pathway. So, I won’t get ahead of the decisions that are taken today and then will be announced as part of the communiqué tomorrow.
All I will say is that there’s a lot of goodwill and energy in the room. And I think that Allies will come together around a consensus way forward on that question.
And then, I’ll let Senator Menendez speak for himself. But yes, of course, we’ve been in contact with Senator Menendez, as he is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, through which any transfer of F-16s would go. We’ve also been in touch with the other chairs and rankings of the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees.
Q As you just said that for Ukraine to join NATO now, that could draw NATO into a direct conflict with Russia. But is your condition or is the United States condition that there be no Russian troops on Ukrainian soil anyway — anywhere? And would Russia have to withdraw from Crimea, the Donbas? What is, sort of, the line there as what you would define as not “in conflict” to allow Ukraine to join NATO?
MR. SULLIVAN: I don’t think you’ll see explicit conditions along those lines reflected in the NATO communiqué or expressed from this podium or from the White House podium.
This is obviously a dynamic situation. We will look at the conditions and circumstances as they unfold, continue to consult with allies, continue to consult with Ukraine, and make decisions on the basis of what’s best for European security and how we can best support Ukraine.
Q So, you’re not defining “at war” necessarily as Russia holding any plot of land in Ukraine that would prevent NATO membership?
MR. SULLIVAN: Today, we’re not going to define “at war.” We’re not going to lay down a definition for that. And, you know, there have been historical circumstances where you’ve seen — (bumps podium microphone) — excuse me — different ways of looking at that question. That would be for an ongoing discussion and dialogue within the Alliance.
Q (Clears throat.) Excuse me. On cluster munitions. On the way over here, you characterized the British Prime Minister as saying that he was basically acting within his legal obligations with the — I guess you could say — limited protest that he raised publicly. Did he do anything in private that was more forceful? Or did he repeat his public statements that he wanted to discourage the use of these weapons?
MR. SULLIVAN: One of the things I said on the way over here was that you wouldn’t see this cluster munitions decision by the United States in any way disrupt or undermine the very
close unity between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. I think that was borne out yesterday across the board.
Prime Minister Sunak and President Biden had an incredibly energetic conversation on a range of issues, including their tight coordination and full unity on the bigger picture in Ukraine. The Prime Minister said nothing different in private than he said in public.
They have their legal obligations, but you certainly haven’t seen the British Prime Minister or, really, for that matter, any of our NATO Allies go out and say that this threatens NATO unity. You haven’t heard anyone say that. And the answer for why that is is because it doesn’t threaten NATO unity.
And you’ll see over the course of the next couple of days that while Allies have different views on this particular weapon system — and many are signatories to the Oslo Convention — there is a wide degree of understanding that the United States took this decision thoughtfully, carefully, and in the best interests of protecting Ukraine’s people and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Q Do you mean generally as part of the overall response to Russia’s invasion, or there’s — there’s actual unity on use of the munitions?
MR. SULLIVAN: No, no. I do not want to suggest there’s unity on the use of the munitions. Obviously, many countries have said because of their legal obligations, they wouldn’t support them.
My point is only that the difference of perspective on the question of the particular munition has not had a broader impact on what has been historic, sustained, and continuing unity for NATO overall.
I would take this opportunity to point out that
in a lot of the coverage coming into the summit, I would say rumors of the death of NATO’s unity were greatly exaggerated. Every few months, the question is called: Can the West hang together? Can NATO hang together? Can transatlantic unity hang together?
Every time Allies gather, that question gets re-upped. And every time the Allies come together and answer it forcefully and vehemently, “Yes, we can.”
Vladimir Putin has been counting on the West to crack, NATO to crack, the transatlantic alliance to crack. He has been disappointed at every turn. Vilnius will very much disappoint him.
Q Thank you. I wanted to follow up on the F-16s and Turkey. Greece has expressed concerns repeatedly about Turkey ac- — acquiring these F-16s. So, I wanted to ask if the administration has dealt with the Greek government, if it has given any assurances over this?
MR. SULLIVAN: President Biden and Secretary Blinken have both spoken with the Greek Prime Minister broadly about the relationship; to congratulate him on his recent election victory; to talk about U.S.-Greece relations; to talk about our shared security concerns; to talk about the ways in which we are going to specifically support Greece’s defense capabilities and needs; and also to talk about, as President Biden also did with President Erdoğan, our interest in seeing de-escalation and calm in the Eastern Mediterranean and the — and in the Aegean.
And, beyond that, I have nothing further to add.
Q When President Biden spoke with President Erdoğan, did he make clear that him — that while he didn’t see F-16s as linked to Sweden’s NATO bid that it would be easier for Congress to move on it if Turkey were to back Sweden’s bid?
MR. SULLIVAN: So, I’m not going to get into all the specifics of the conversation. Just to say that, from the President’s perspective, his focus in that conversation was really on how the U.S. and Turkey could move forward positively — not, you know, trying to paint a negative or dark scenario.
This, from the President’s perspective, was a call of encouragement for Türkiye to take a big step. And the President is gratified that Türkiye, in fact, did take that big step.
Q Thanks, Jake. President Zelenskyy is asking for a clear signal from NATO leaders. So, just, what would that signal look like? And can you talk a little bit about the decision for President Biden to meet with him? Obviously, it’s important. Why? And what are they hoping to achieve??
MR. SULLIVAN: Look, if President Biden and President Zelenskyy are in the same city, they’re going to meet. The United States has been the leading partner in supporting Ukraine and supporting President Zelenskyy in his and the Ukrainian people’s brave defense of their homeland. And being able to coordinate on all aspects — our military support, our economic support, the continued work on democratic reforms in Kyiv —
President Biden will always seize that opportunity. And he’s looking forward to a full conversation with President Zelenskyy on all of those issues.
With respect to what “clear signal” means, of course, you know, President Zelenskyy will have his view. President Biden will have the opportunity to talk to him both in their bilateral and then on the margins of the — the meetings tomorrow. And we’ve been consulting closely over time.
I think what comes out of Vilnius in the communiqué will
will be something that Ukraine will be able to embrace as a positive signal with respect to the question of Ukraine’s future pathway towards membership.
Q Thanks, Jake. Can you just, sort of, lay out what the conversation was like between President Biden and President Erdoğan? Because I was confused about the timeline after they had that call on Air Force One, then we get a statement from Erdoğan that he needs to be allowed into the EU to clear the way for NATO membership. Did — did President Biden know when Erdoğan made that statement that he intended to let Sweden into NATO?
MR. SULLIVAN: Well, of course, President Biden couldn’t be in President Erdoğan’s mind. But, as I said in reading out the call on the plane on the way over here, it was a long, detailed, constructive call. And President Biden certainly believed that President Erdoğan was weighing this decision carefully — and that President Biden had confidence he would either take this step in Vilnius or in the period shortly thereafter.
So, from the President’s perspective, the two leaders had a good understanding of one another. They talked in detail. And President Biden got off that call without any certainty about the way ahead but with a sense that President Bi- — President Erdoğan was taking this issue, as he always does, very seriously.
Q It didn’t look like —
MR. SULLIVAN: I’ll take one more question.
Q — he was moving the goalpost, though?
MR. SULLIVAN: I’m sorry?
Q It didn’t look like he was moving the goalposts — Erdoğan — to the administration?
MR. SULLIVAN: From the administration’s perspective, we knew that Turkey had a certain set of concerns, that Sweden had taken really quite historic steps to address those concerns.
Yes, President Erdoğan raised other issues as well, but the President continued to focus back in on the core point that, from the point of view of Sweden being able to come into the Alliance, the real issue was: Had it been able to satisfy what it had committed to a year ago in Madrid? The President made the point to Erdoğan: Yes, in fact, it had. And he pointed out, in quite specific detail, how that had happened.
And I think that Sweden’s effective work really had an impact on Erdoğan’s ultimate decision here.
Q Jake, we have two quick ones. We heard from President Zelenskyy, who said in response to the President saying that if Ukraine would be allowed into NATO right now, it would effectively say we are at war with Russia — Zelenskyy pushed back and said: We’re not asking to be added right now.
Does the United States concede that there is a way that Ukraine can get a stronger commitment to join NATO in the near future without putting the U.S. at war with Russia?
MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I would just point out that, 48 hours ago, the coverage was about a major division in perspective on the question of Ukraine’s membership. I think your question underlines the fact that there is consensus, including from Ukraine, that the question is not Ukraine and NATO now here at Vilnius. The question is: What’s the pathway towards Ukraine’s future membership?
I think we can come to a good understanding about that here in Vilnius among all of the Allies and with Ukraine. That’s really what these next two days are about. And I think that’s what will be reflected in the communiqué.
Q Then, finally, on the cluster munitions. The President, in his comments this weekend with Fareed Zakaria, made clear that this was, in part, a temporary move because we were low on — or they, the Ukrainians, were low on ammunition.
What timeframe are we talking about, in terms of the ability to, again, provide them with the ammunition the Ukrainians need? How long is it going to take, given all of the military aid that’s been provided so far, to get back up to speed in that regard?
MR. SULLIVAN: Right. What President Biden was referring to is the fact that the unitary rounds that we’ve been providing and that we’ve been getting other allies and partners to provide to Ukraine — those stockpiles are running low.
So, in the absence of providing the cluster munition variant of 155, Ukraine would not have enough artillery not just to conduct this counteroffensive, but potentially not enough artillery to be able to defend the positions it holds.
We were not prepared to leave Ukraine defenseless. Period.
So, for us, when it came down to the choice, our choice was: Despite the difficulty, despite the challenges, despite the risk to civilian harm associated with cluster munitions, the risk to civilian harm of leaving Ukraine without the ammo it needed was, in our — from our perspective, greater.
You’re right that we view that as temporary because many months ago, we began the intensive process of ramping up our unitary round production. Once it hits a level where unitary round production can satisfy Ukraine’s needs, then there will be no need to continue giving cluster munitions.
I cannot give you an exact timeline for that because, of course, war is dynamic. And it goes to the question of usage rates, as well as to the question of the defense industrial base hitting its marks in terms of increased production.
So far, they have been hitting their marks. It is not as fast as we want, but they laid out a timeline and they are working along it.
So, as the weeks unfold, we will begin to be able to paint a clearer picture of what this pathway looks like exactly. But those are the two main variables: one variable, usage rates, depending on the nature of the conflict on the ground; the other variable, how quickly the defense industrial base can get up to the unitary round level necessary to sustain Ukraine’s defensive needs.
Q Is that days, weeks, or months?
MR. SULLIVAN: It’s months. But the question is: How many?
Okay. Thanks, everybody.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Thank you so much, Jake. This podium is very small. I don’t really have anything at the top. I don’t know if there are any more questions to take or anything domestic that folks wanted to ask. But I’m here to be here for a few minutes.
Yeah. Go ahead.
Q Hi, Karine. I wanted to ask Jake, but (inaudible.)
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.
Q Is there going to be some sort of a concrete document drawn up by a smaller group of Allies within NATO, whether it’s the G7 or the Quad, with some kind of interim security guarantees for Ukraine? Is there something specific going to come out from that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t want to get ahead of the conversations that are going to be starting today, as you all know. So, I think you can expect some — some — a communiqué, certainly, as we’ve talked about, and some — some deliverables or some more, kind of, guidance of how these conversations have gone throughout the day and also as we get into tomorrow, as well.
We will have a briefing tomorrow morning and so — which will kind of wrap up a little bit of how things went the last 24 hours — clearly, before the briefing. I just don’t want to get ahead of the President’s conversations and any other, you know, bilateral meetings that he may have as well.
Q What can you say about conversations with congressional leaders about long-term security assistance for Ukraine, particularly given Republican reluctance to this?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, clearly, that will be a conversation that the President will have with President Zelenskyy about long-term security assistance. The President and — President Zelenskyy and President Biden clearly have had ongoing conversations about that.
Look, our focus continues to be: How do we continue to provide assistance — security assistance? As you know, as — the President has been a leader in that, the U.S. has been a leader of that in the last more than 15 months. Of course, that will come up tomorrow. Just don’t want to get ahead of that.
We are always in conversation with congressional members on our bipartisan support for Ukraine. I just don’t have anything specific to share at this time.
Q So on the — on the —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yep.
Q — has the President secured any commitments from Republican leaders because he’s making — you know, as he makes any promises to President Zelenskyy tomorrow?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, don’t have any, you know, long-term commitments coming out of conversations with members of Congress. Obviously, there’s been bipartisan support for the support — security assistance for Ukraine, which is incredibly important, which we appreciate. I just don’t have anything specific on the long-term piece.
Q Just to go back home for a second, there’s been, kind of, massive flooding in the Northeast, Vermont especially. I’m wondering if the President has been in contact with any governors, has been in talk — has been talking to FEMA. Any update you can give on that?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, don’t have any updates on the Pres- — on any calls that the President has had with any governors. Clearly, he’s been briefed on the severe storms and life-threatening flooding throughout the Northeast, and the White House has been in touch with state and local officials as we have when these types of extreme — extreme weather occur. And obful- — obviously, we’re offering assistance.
FEMA personnel have mobilized to the affected areas and are working closely with state and local partners, and we continue to monitor the impact of the flooding.
So, we urge everyone who are in the impacted areas to please listen to their local and state governments. As we know, this is — this is a dangerous time when it comes to these types of flood warnings. So, we again urge Americans and folks who are in those affected areas to please, please be safe and follow safety protocols.
All right. Go ahead.
Q What’s the status of the F-16s going to Ukraine and the — the training for the Ukrainian pilots?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have anything more than what we’ve shared on that in the past. I’m just not going to share anything — any more details on that. Just don’t have anything — any new — anything new on that.
Q The administration prides itself on building alliances. Do you believe these alliances are still strong after the decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, absolutely. I think Jake spoke about this in the gaggle a couple of days ago, about the strength of the Alliance and its continuation.
We just saw — right? — Sweden has been added to the Alliance. Now that’s 32 members. I think that shows the strength of the Alliance. I think that shows the strength of NATO.
And I said this recently as well, and many of us have said this. Remember, when this war started — when Russia started this aggression into Ukraine, Mr. Putin thought NATO would collapse, and it didn’t. It’s the complete opposite.
So, I think the Alliance continues to be strong. We are going into the summit today with these now, you know, 31 members — and soon to be 32. And I think that’s important to see. It’s important to — to really acknowledge the President’s role in this last two years and how we’ve been able to strengthen NATO not just for what’s happening in Ukraine, but the global economy — right? — the importance of having that security alliance.
And so, what we foresee is that to continue — the strength of NATO to continue. And I think that’s what we should be really, kind of, proud of that this President was able to do this.
Q Can you tell us how the President learned of this agreement by Turkey for Sweden to join NATO?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I don’t have any intel or specifics to share. As you know, he spoke with Erdoğan twenty- — about 24 hours or the day before. And so, the President has been certainly kept abreast and updated on — on those — the conversations that we’ve been having. But I just don’t have anything specific on the timeline or when he knew.
But again, this is important. This is important. To the question I just got from Nadia, this is incredibly important that we are continuing to strengthen NATO, especially as we’re talking about democracy, as we’re talking about Ukraine fighting for their democracy.
I think this is something that is — is something that we should be, you know, talking about this in a positive light as we go into the NATO Summit today.
Q But was there any heads up before Stoltenberg came out and made that announcement? Did the President learn it through media reports or was he told —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: He obviously knew before the media reports. I just don’t have a timeline or exact —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m sorry?
Q And he was here when he learned —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I just don’t have a — I know you’re trying to get me to a — to an exact time and — during the day, but I just don’t have that for you. But, of course, he knew before the media reports came out.
Q And do you have any update on the investigation into the cocaine at the White House? Has Secret Service indicated if they’re closer to (inaudible) —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I don’t have any updates. As you know — as you just mentioned, Secret Service — it’s under their purview. They’re certainly investigating the situation. I just don’t have anything updated. I would — I would refer you to the Secret Service on that particular question.
All right. I’m going to take one more. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Karine. Do you have more update on Secretary Yellen’s trip to China? And what is — how does the U.S. plan to respond to China’s proposed export controls on two key metals for semiconductors and solar panels?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I — I mean, I don’t have anything more to share than Secretary Yellen has done interviews on how important it was for her to have this bilateral discussion on the economy — the global economy more broadly, with China. She said it was — it was substanc- — substantive, it was important. The President has said this.
And I think that, as we all know, you know, China is going to be around for some time. It is important to have those open communi- — lines of communication. It is important to also — it was important for her to — also to meet with the new team as it relates to the economy, as it relates to the new members of — in China.
So, look, I don’t have anything else to add. Again, we’re going to continue to try to have — continue those open lines of conversation, and I think that’s important. As we know, that relationship is — is vital. And so, we’re going to continue to do that. I just don’t have anything else to share.
All right. Thanks, everybody.
9:12 A.M. EEST