NATO and the EU deepen ties as ministerial meeting wraps up
NATO foreign ministers concluded two days of meetings in Brussels on Wednesday (7 December 2016), during which they made progress on a number of key issues, including cooperation with the European Union. Allies approved a series of more than 40 measures to advance how the two organisations work together – including on countering hybrid threats, cyber defence, and making their common neighbourhood more stable and secure. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the agreement “a milestone in our relations,” adding that “neither organisation has the full range of tools” to address new challenges alone, “but working together we are a formidable force for good.”
Ministers also took stock of the Alliance’s efforts to project stability by helping to build strong institutions in partner countries, training local forces, and tackling terrorism. Ministers reviewed progress on NATO efforts to support the Counter-ISIL Coalition, the training of Iraqi officers, and maritime operations in the Mediterranean. Ministers also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans and the Alliance’s commitment to its partners in the region.
At a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine mission, attended by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, the Secretary General underscored NATO’s “enduring support” for Ukraine. The Secretary General warned that serious security problems are hindering progress toward a political settlement to the conflict. Mr Stoltenberg also stressed NATO’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the country’s reform efforts.
Finally, at a meeting attended by Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, ministers discussed NATO’s mission to train, assist and advise Afghan security forces, and reaffirmed their support to the country while the Afghan government said it would push ahead with reforms.