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NATO leaders reaffirm validity of Article 5
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    NATO leaders reaffirm validity of Article 5

    BRUSSELS, July 12 (LETA--BNS) - As part of their two-day meeting in Brussels, NATO heads of state and heads of government on Wednesday approved two joint declarations, in which they reaffirmed the endurance and unbreakability of the transatlantic bond, reiterated the validity of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty setting out the fundamental principle of collective defense, and accused Russia of challenging the rules-based international order.

    Even though U.S. President Donald Trump was highly critical of some key European allies and their defense spending levels also at the Brussels summit, the so-called Brussels declaration got the signatures of all the 29 heads of state and heads of government.

    "We face a prolonged period of instability. Russia is challenging the rules-based international order by destabilizing Ukraine including through the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea; it is violating international law, conducting provocative military activities, and attempting to undermine our institutions and sow disunity," the declaration reads.

    "NATO guarantees the security of our territory and populations, our freedom, and the values we share -- including democracy, individual liberty, human rights and the rule of law. Our Alliance embodies the enduring and unbreakable transatlantic bond between Europe and North America to stand together against threats and challenges from any direction."

    This, the declaration goes on to say, "includes the bedrock commitment to collective defense set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. NATO will continue to strive for peace, security and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter."

    The joint statement also makes mention of a multitude of threats, such as terrorism, emanating from NATO's southern periphery.

    The declaration says that NATO members will share fairly the responsibilities of defending each other.

    "Real progress has been made across NATO since our last Summit in Warsaw, with more funding by all Allies for defense, more investment in capabilities, and more forces in operations. But even if we have turned a corner, we need to do more, and there will be further progress. We are committed to the Defense Investment Pledge agreed in 2014, and we will report annually on national plans to meet this pledge," the declaration reads.

    The joint declaration emphasizes that NATO's deterrence and defense is based on an appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities, which the alliance continues to adapt.

    "We will increase the readiness of our forces and improve our ability to reinforce each other within Europe and across the Atlantic," the declaration reads. "As part of that, we have agreed an adapted and strengthened NATO Command Structure. We are also further reinforcing the cyber defense capabilities of Allies and of NATO itself."

    "NATO poses no threat to any country. All these measures are defensive, proportionate and transparent, and within NATO's legal and political commitments. We remain fully committed to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation," the declaration reads.

    The heads of state and heads of government declared that NATO remains ready for a meaningful dialogue with Russia to communicate clearly its positions and, as a first priority, to minimize risk from military incidents, including through reciprocal measures of transparency. "The alliance continues to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia's actions make that possible."

    "The NATO-EU strategic partnership is essential for the security and prosperity of our nations and of the Euro-Atlantic area. The European and North American allies contribute significantly to European security and defense. We recognize that a stronger and more capable European defense will lead to a stronger NATO," it stands in the declaration.

    The heads of state and heads of government declared that NATO is committed to its open door policy and has decided to invite the government in Skopje to begin accession talks to join the alliance once the terms of the agreement are met.

    NATO is strengthening its capacity to prepare against, deter and respond to hybrid threats. It is also boosting its contribution to the international fight against terrorism, according to the declaration.

    "We will also boost NATO's cooperation with Finland and Sweden in the Baltic Sea, as well as with our partners in the Black Sea, Western Balkans and Mediterranean regions, each of which is important to Alliance security. We are maintaining our important operation in Kosovo. And while remaining a transatlantic Alliance, NATO will retain its global perspective."

    • Published: 12.07.2018 13:53
    • LETA
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