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  • WARSAW NATO SUMMIT 2016

  • 4 June 2016

    It seems the summit in Warsaw could be one of the most fateful in the history of the Alliance. "NATO has not faced so many challenges for decades," Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said on Friday during the Wrocław Global Forum.

    Vershbow participated in a panel discussion on the future of NATO in view of the July summit in Warsaw. Among the challenges faced by the Alliance, Deputy Secretary-General of NATO listed Russia, "which unlawfully annexed the Crimea and sent troops to the east of Ukraine." "We must also deal with the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa," he said.

     

     

    He emphasized that in the face of these threats, NATO must be a fully operational alliance. "We need to apply a comprehensive approach.

    We need to show our society that NATO fulfils both its promises and its obligations. Such is the attitude we should adopt when going to the Warsaw summit. It seems the summit in Warsaw could be one of the most fateful in the history of the Alliance," said Vershbow.

     

    Deputy Secretary-General stressed that since 2014, NATO had managed to reinforce both the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and its eastern allies. "We have also enhanced the air defence of Turkey and prevented the spillage of the conflict in Syria; we have strengthened the eastern flank," said Vershbow.

     

    He added that the defence expenditures in NATO countries remained a challenge.

    "We do see certain improvement. Although most countries have managed to increase real expenditures last year, we are still far from our target, i.e. 2 percent of GDP.

    But the trends are improving and the situation is getting better," he said.

     

    Vershbow emphasised that, during the summit in Warsaw, material decisions would be made with regard to the long-term adaptation of the Alliance. "This will be done on the basis of two topics: firstly, defence of our respective countries, assuming the position of defence and deterrence; secondly, efforts to stabilise our neighbourhoods, our partners, both in the east and the south. The aim is to assist them in building their own defence capabilities, so that they can fight terrorism and respond to regional challenges at the regional level," he said.

     

    Deputy Secretary-General explained that the strengthening of defence of NATO members and deterrence consisted in the reinforcement of military presence on the eastern flank of the Alliance. "More troops and more equipment, and this presence will involve rotation of units. Details are still being discussed, but several countries have already offered to provide a framework for this mission," he said.

     

    He stressed that due to the risks related to hybrid war, the Alliance must keep its forces in field. "They have to show to any opponent, especially to President Putin, that any attempt at encroachment of NATO borders will imply a reaction of NATO forces. Therefore, our presence, in particular in the northeast, will be of paramount importance; we will increase not only the infantry, but also the air and the marine forces, especially in the Black Sea region," he said.

     

    He added that the hybrid war combating strategy would be presented at the summit in Warsaw. Deputy Secretary-General of the Alliance also talked about increasing funds for the modernisation of NATO equipment by 20 percent.

     

    He also stressed that NATO must engage in dialogue with Russia. "When our relationships are tense, dialogue is important, as it can provide greater predictability," he said.

     

    Vershbow emphasised that the Alliance must ensure that "stability is extended" in the neighbouring countries of NATO members.

    "Our security depends on a stable neighbourhood. We want to increase our support for Ukraine, we will present a new set of measures for Ukraine. We will also offer a robust package of measures to Georgia in order to help it strengthen its defence and prepare for its potential membership in the Alliance.

    We are also trying to help Moldova," he said.

     

    He added that the actions of NATO forces aimed at stabilising the situation would also be conducted in the countries of North Africa and in the Middle East – in Jordan and Iraq. "I hope that before the summit in Warsaw we will announce a comprehensive programme of support for Iraq, as we want to implement a capacity building programme there," he said.

     

    Source: PAP

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