NATO Foreign Ministers ended their two-day meeting on Wednesday (2 December 2015) by confirming the Alliance’s continued political and practical support for Ukraine. In a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, Allied ministers and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin reviewed the current security situation, and the progress of NATO’s assistance for the country.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is committed to supporting a peaceful, diplomatic end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He cautioned that while there has been some progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, “there is a real risk of a resumption of violence.” He noted that Russian-backed separatists have yet to withdraw their troops and equipment, and Ukraine has not been able to re-establish control over its border. Calling the Minsk agreements “the only path to a political solution”Mr Stoltenberg underlined that “they must be implemented in full by all sides.”
“Ukraine doesn’t stand alone,” the Secretary General said, noting that NATO continues to help Ukraine in several areas, including modernising command control, cyber, and logistics capabilities. He further welcomed Ukraine’s commitment to implementing reforms, and urged the country to continue along this path.
The meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission was the last session in this week’s two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers. Earlier on Wednesday, NATO Foreign Ministers invited Montenegro to begin accession talks to become the 29th member of the Alliance.
“Challenges posed by Russia’s actions in the Euro-Atlantic area will be with us for a long time,”the Secretary General said. He added that “Allies expressed regret at the decline in military transparency in Europe over the last decade. We agreed that our priority now is to work restore predictability in our relations.” Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that it is important to step up work on transparency and risk reduction, “most immediately through intensive efforts to reach agreement next year on a substantive update of the OSCE’s Vienna Document,” he said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministers agreed to sustain the presence of the Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces with around 12,000 troops during 2016. They launched work to ensure funding for Afghanistan’s forces until 2020. In a separate meeting on challenges to the south, ministers agreed to continue to provide measures to assure Turkey, the NATO Ally most exposed to volatility from Syria. They approved a new strategy on hybrid warfare, agreeing to improve intelligence and early warning mechanisms. The ministers further confirmed their support for partners in North Africa and the Middle East, including Jordan, Iraq, and Tunisia.