Tag Archives: NATO Summit

NATO moves to space as ‘operational domain’

Although the participants claimed that historic NATO 70 Summit in London was a success, the general public has witness the other version of the events while leaders were trading barbs, ending in refusal of a concluding press-conference.

The assembly was marked  by unusual assertiveness, and even remorse of President Trump who declared at his arrival to London the French President Macron remarks on NATO “brain death” as “nasty” and, while leaving, calling Canada’s prime minister “two-faced” for mocking him on a hot mic.

Nevertheless NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that the allies  have been able to “overcome our disagreements and continue to deliver on our core tasks to protect and defend each other.”

The leaders declared that space is now an “operational domain,” after land, sea, air and cyber space.

In a joint declaration, the leaders said: “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.”

There were some changes in initial positions, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not further insist on his idea of blocking plans to enforce NATO infrastructure in northern and eastern Europe unless allies declared Kurdish fighters in Syria terrorists.

Marking the 70th anniversary of NATO, which was founded in 1949 to confront the security threat posed by the then Soviet Union, the leaders said the trans-Atlantic alliance is the cornerstone of their collective defense.

They also underlined their commitment to Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty, saying “that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.”

The leaders then pledged to boost their military budgets in line with previous promises to move toward spending 2% of their annual GDP on defense by 2024.

They noted that European allies and Canada have increased spending for the last five years in a row and have invested an extra $130 billion since 2016. “We are making good progress. We must and will do more,” they said.

The leaders noted that NATO faces a multitude of threats, including from Russia and terrorism. “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all,” they said.

They also noted that “instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration.”

Arms control was also a theme, given the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty between Washington and Moscow.

We are fully committed to the preservation and strengthening of effective arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation,” the leaders said.

They added: “We remain open for dialogue, and to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible.”

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan, where NATO has its longest and most ambitious security operation. They also underlined that they are increasing cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.

North Macedonia‘s imminent membership was welcomed as a sign that NATO’s door remains open to European countries who want to join.

Turning to modern challenges, the leaders vowed to protect critical infrastructure, including 5th generation telecommunication networks, to ensure energy security and work together to counter cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare.

They said they must also address the “opportunities and challenges” posed by the rise of China.

To counter concerns about poor political decision making, the leaders accepted to set up a “reflection group” led by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation.”

After three consecutive years of summits, the leaders agreed to meet again in 2021.

 

Erdogan blocks NATO Baltic advancement

Turkey announced it will oppose NATO’s plans for enhancing defence of three Baltic countries if the Alliance does not recognize militant groups that Ankara defines as terrorist, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London.

Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a number of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian air defense systems S-400  to policy vis-à-vis Syria. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Ankara has refused to back NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the YPG, which it assesses as a terrorist organization.

NATO tumultuous Summit

Arriving to NATO Summit in Brussels President Trump bitterly criticised European allies for not meeting the two percent spending for defence needs, they signed for as Alliance members. (The VIDEO of President Donald Trump address at breakfast with Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg below).

“I think it is unfair,” Trump said, making clear that unlike his predecessors, he is not only going to talk about it, but resolve the issue. “We can’t put up with it,” he added pointing that the US should not have to pay the biggest share of NATO defence expenditure while Germany – the biggest European economy –  contributes just over 1% of GDP. Germany’s plan to increase its defence expenditure to the NATO target of 2% of GDP by 2030. was not satisfactory Trump said, adding: “They could do it tomorrow.”

However the criticism of the allies did not stop with the budget issue, and President Trump went on, extensively criticizing Germany for trade with Russia, namely for construction of the North Stream 2 pipeline in Baltic sea.

Apparently the international project of direct delivery of cheap Russian gas to Germany via Baltic sea bed would substantially impact the US attempts to sell their expensive liquid gas (LNG) to Europe, the experts say. It will also strip Ukraine from Russian transit gas payments from exploiting  the pipeline system they have inherited, a from the USSR.

“I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia,” Trump regretted. “We are supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russia”.

“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. I think that is very inappropriate.”

“It should never have been allowed to happen. Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.”

“You tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not. On top of that Germany is just paying just a little bit over one percent whereas the United States is paying 4.2% of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also.”

The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg attempted to reason President Trump, making his point that “even during the Cold war, NATO allies were trading with Russia.”

However the attempt to call to reason did not impact the fiery rhetoric of President Trump targeting Germany, and defining it as a “captive of Russia“.

Previously the attempts to promote the US liquid gas sales to Europe were undertaken by President Obama, but were declined by the European Union for economic reasons.

Russian company Gazprom underlines that the construction of new pipeline, similar to the one in operation (North Stream) will establish a direct link between Gazprom and the European consumers. “It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe”, the latter is a significant factor for the European economies, which have already been ‘hostages’ to Ukraine-Russia trade arguments, left without gas supplies.

 

 

 

NATO Summit on terrorism

“We have two major items on our agenda: Stepping up NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism and fairer burden sharing in our Alliance.  We are making progress on both”, – said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in his opening remarks at Brussels Summit.

“NATO has been actively engaged in the fight against terrorism for many years. Today, we will adopt an action plan to enhance NATO’s contributions. Our largest military operation ever was launched in Afghanistan in a direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. 13,000 NATO troops continue to train Afghan forces. We will assess our level of support and the future of the mission. Training local forces is one of the best weapons in the fight against terrorism,” – Stoltenberg continued.

“We are already training Iraqi forces. And our AWACS (Boeing E-3 Sentry-ed) surveillance planes provide information to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Today, we will decide to expand our support to the Coalition. With more AWACS flight-time, more information sharing and air-to-air refuelling.”

“All 28 Allies are members of the Global Coalition and today, we will agree on NATO’s membership in the Coalition. This will send a strong political message of NATO’s commitment to the fight against terrorism. And improve coordination within the Coalition. But it does not mean that NATO will engage in combat operations”.