NATO leaders meet for two day summit in Wales
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Leaders from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) member states met in Wales over Thursday to Friday in a summit addressing the organisation's role in Afghanistan and new threats from Russia and the Islamic State.
Role in Afghanistan
Since the 2010 NATO summit in, countries involved in the (ISAF), NATO's military operation in Afghanistan, have been committed to full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. This would mark the end of ISAF's 13 year mission in Afghanistan, with troops changing to a training and assistance role.
Plans had originally intended for Afghanistan's new President, or President-elect, to attend this year's summit, but due to the political situation and ongoing election process it is still unknown who will replace outgoing President. Bismullah Khan Muhammadi, the country's defence minister, instead attended the summit in the absence of a President.
This political stalemate has put at risk NATO plans for a continuing military presence in the country, with troops expected to pull out at the end of the year without new security agreements being signed, signature not possible without a new President in place. NATO members have urged Afghanistan's presidential candidates to reach an agreement, with officials indicating that if no agreement can be reached by the end of the month, then troops would begin to leave.
Threat from Russia
On Thursday, NATO leaders pledged support forat a meeting with the country's President, , in the face of recent moves from Russia. On their website, NATO outlined four areas where the alliance would provide support for Ukraine, "rehabilitation for injured troops, cyber defence, logistics, and command and control and communications", with assistance expected to have a monetary value of about 15 million (about 19 million).
On Friday, peace talks in, resulted in a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and rebel forces, whom NATO has accused Russia of supporting in their bid for separation of eastern regions of Ukraine. The said sanctions being prepared are likely to go ahead, regardless of the outcome of these talks, until it is seen that Russia is acting upon them.
Threat from Islamic State
On Friday morning, a meeting of ten countries chaired by the UK andagreed to jointly working to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State in the . , US Secretary of State, stated after the meeting that the group should aim to make firm plans and raise support from within the region affected before the annual meeting later this month. , UK Foreign Secretary, also said it was clear that regional support was needed, adding "with a new and inclusive Government of Iraq leading the efforts".
It was also announced NATO would help a non-sectariangovernment, on request, to build defence capabilities in Iraq to help fight the Islamic State, as well as coordinating the humanitarian airlift of supplies.
Plans for a Readiness Action Plan were agreed at the summit. Speaking on Monday before the summit, NATO's secretary general,, described this as a response to "Russia's aggressive behaviour", but outlined how he hoped it would increase the responsiveness of the alliance to face any security challenge.
These plans aim to allow reinforcements to reach any NATO member state within 48 hours, in what Rasmussen described as a "spearhead" of the preexisting
- "Australia and Afghanistan to be represented at NATO summit" — Wikinews, September 2, 2014
- "Russia accused of supporting Ukrainian rebels' advance" — Wikinews, September 2, 2014
- Patrick Wintour. "US forms 'core coalition' to fight Isis militants in Iraq" — , September 5, 2014
- "Foreign Secretary hails deeper international commitment to tackle ISIL" — , September 5, 2014
- "Nato agrees on new 'spearhead' force amid Ukraine crisis" — , September 5, 2014
- "Ukraine and pro-Russia rebels sign ceasefire deal" — , September 5, 2014
- "NATO leaders pledge support to Ukraine at Wales Summit" — , September 4, 2014
- Ben Farmer. "Nato troops for Afghanistan at risk without new president this month" — , September 4, 2014
- "FACT SHEET: Wales Summit – NATO’s Changing Role in Afghanistan" — , September 4, 2014
- "Pre-Summit Press Conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Residence Palace, Brussels" — , September 1, 2014