NATO Foreign Ministers to address key security challenges
NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting this week to address a wide range of security challenges, including Russia’s destabilising behaviour, violent extremism in the Middle East and North Africa and continuing instability in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday (4 December 2018), Allies will meet with two of NATO’s closest partners, Georgia and Ukraine. “They both face serious security challenges from Russia, and we will continue to give both countries practical and political support,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In view of Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine near the Sea of Azov, NATO Allies have called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized, and to allow freedom of navigation and unhindered access to Ukrainian ports.
NATO Foreign Ministers will also discuss the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. “This Treaty eliminated an entire category of weapons, but it has been put in jeopardy by Russia,” said the Secretary General. He noted that Russia has developed, produced and deployed a new missile, which “could reach European cities with little or no warning.” Mr. Stoltenberg added that the United States is in full compliance with the INF Treaty. “There are no new US missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles,” he said.
Ministers will hold a separate session on challenges coming from the Middle East and North Africa. They are expected to discuss NATO’s support to partners in the region. “We will discuss Iraq, where we are helping train local forces, and our experts are helping set up defence education facilities,” said the Secretary General.
On Wednesday (5 December), NATO Foreign Ministers will hold a meeting on the Western Balkans, joined by European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini. They will discuss Skopje’s progress towards NATO membership and the next steps in developing the Alliance’s relationship with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ministers are expected to endorse NATO’s readiness to accept Bosnia’s first Annual National Programme. “This is an important tool, which can help the country implement political, economic and defence reforms,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
The Ministerial will conclude with a meeting of all nations contributing to the Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan. “We must continue to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists,” said the Secretary General. He noted that NATO has stepped up its support to Afghanistan, with more forces and funding.