NATO Wales Summit Guide

Newport, 4-5 September 2014

  • 22 Aug. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 01 Sep. 2014 11:47

NATO’s Wales Summit comes at a critical time in the Alliance’s history. The global security environment is dangerous and unpredictable. Russia’s actions against Ukraine have challenged the fundamental principles of a Europe whole, free and at peace. An arc of crises surrounds the Alliance, with growing instability and security challenges across the Middle East and North Africa, and beyond, as well as newer threats such as cyber and missile attacks. At the same time, NATO is preparing to complete its longest combat mission and to open a new chapter in its relationship with Afghanistan.

In 1990, at the last NATO Summit hosted by the United Kingdom, Allies marked the end of the Cold War by extending a "hand of friendship" to countries of Central and Eastern Europe. 24 years later, in Wales, leaders will consider the multiple challenges facing the Alliance and ways to ensure that NATO remains ready, able and willing to defend all Allies against any threat. Leaders will adopt a Readiness Action Plan to make NATO's forces more responsive and its partnerships more flexible, thus forging a strong foundation for Future NATO.

The Alliance will take further steps to enhance its partnership with Ukraine. Heads of State and Government will also address the impact of the security challenges posed by instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

This Summit will principally focus on the following themes:

  • NATO readiness to reinforce collective defence, and investing in capabilities to ensure the Alliance remains ready to face any challenge;
  • Demonstrating transatlantic resolve and stressing the importance of appropriate levels of defence spending;
  • Relations with Russia, and stronger ties with Ukraine through increased cooperation;
  • Deepening partnerships and maintaining NATO's Open Door policy;
  • Afghanistan: completion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and future engagement after 2014.

This Summit is the last to be chaired by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

I. NATO readiness

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has shown the volatility of the security environment and has accelerated the need for continued adaptation of the Alliance. Allied leaders will adopt a package of measures – the Readiness Action Plan – designed to make NATO forces more responsive, better trained and better equipped to respond to the changed and broader security environment in, or near, Europe so that the Alliance can meet challenges from wherever they may arise. NATO will continue to respond to the concerns of its members by initiating reassurance measures, in keeping with the Alliance’s commitment to collective defence, and will be stepping up efforts in areas such as cyber defence and maritime security.

II. The Transatlantic Bond and a renewed commitment to fundamental values and principles

In the present climate, the Wales Summit will be an opportunity for Allies to reiterate their commitment to fundamental principles and core values laid out in the Washington Treaty, in particular, the principle of collective defence (Article 5) and the need to maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack (Article 3). The leaders will also discuss ways to ensure Allies support their military capacities with adequate financial resources.

A Transatlantic Declaration will be adopted at the Summit, inspired by the values that unite North America and Europe. It will reaffirm the essential security link between the two continents and the determination to share the responsibilities and rewards of security.  

Meanwhile over the past four years, NATO’s structures have been streamlined for greater efficiency and effectiveness, making them better equipped to help tackle today’s security threats while reducing running costs.

III. The crisis in Ukraine and relations with Russia

Since the illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO has suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia, while leaving channels open for dialogue on the situation in Ukraine. The Alliance will review its relations with Russia at the Wales Summit. It will also continue to intensify cooperation with Ukraine. A meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will take place to this effect on the first day of the Summit, with President Petro Poroshenko.

IV. Deepening relations with partners and NATO’s Open Door policy

NATO is seeking to sustain the high levels of consultation, interoperability and defence cooperation that have been developed with partners contributing to ISAF. At the Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government will be presenting initiatives to build on and maintain the frequency of exchanges between partners and Allies, to preserve the benefits of the experience gained in working together during the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan. More specifically, they will look to enhance support to partners’ efforts in developing their capacity to operate more closely with NATO Allies. They will also reiterate, in the context of NATO enlargement, the right of each country to choose its own security arrangements.

V. Afghanistan – NATO’s longest combat mission

NATO has led ISAF for over a decade to ensure Afghanistan no longer serves as a haven for terrorists. NATO is now focusing on completing ISAF in good order at the end of 2014, when it will turn a new page in its relationship with Afghanistan. From 2015, NATO will remain committed to Afghanistan through the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership (2010), the Afghan National Army Trust Fund and a follow-on mission – Resolute Support. The launch of Resolute Support - a “train, advise and assist” mission - is dependent on whether the necessary legal arrangements will be in place.

NATO also continues to lead and support a number of other operations and missions - ground, air and naval - in all types of environments.

In parallel, the Alliance’s involvement in crisis-management operations has provided valuable lessons on the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The resolution recognises the disproportionate impact war and conflicts have on women and children, and highlights the fact that women have been left out of peace processes and stabilisation efforts over time.

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