Ukraine, Afghanistan issues to dominate NATO Summit

Last Updated 30 August 2014, 06:54 IST

The current situation in Ukraine and the security transition in Afghanistan at the end of the year will dominate the proceedings of the NATO Summit next week, according to White House officials.

US President Barack Obama accompanied by Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will be travelling next week to attend the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales.

Leaders of the NATO countries would respond to Russian actions in Ukraine by providing political and security assistance to Ukraine and by bolstering NATO's overall reassurance efforts, both in NATO territory and beyond NATO territory, Charles Kupchan, Senior Director for European Affairs, told reporters during a conference call.

"The second (agenda) is to effectively transition from the ISAF mission in Afghanistan to the resolute support mission in Afghanistan. That essentially means that US troops and their partners will be moving from being in a position of leading the fight in active combat kinetic operations to one that is much more focused on advising and training," he said.

"And then the third overall objective is to advance NATO's role as a global security hub, building out the partnerships that it has built in Afghanistan, and using new means of training, of institution-building to contribute to security on a very broad basis," Kupchan said

"This hopefully will include support at NATO for engaging in the Iraq and Syrian theater, and potentially for a new NATO effort in Africa, as well," Kupchan said.

In Wales, Obama would also hold several bilateral meetings with other leaders, said Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson of the National Security Council.

Prominent among those include the meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameroon.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is also expected to attend the NATO Summit.

"The discussion there will run the full gamut of ways in which the NATO alliance both collectively and individually by its member states can strengthen Ukrainian security," Kupchan said.

"We will be looking at material support, economic as well as security. We'll be looking at modernisation projects. We'll be looking at the ability to do more training, to provide and strengthen cyber defense in Ukraine. In other words, essentially trying to help Ukraine at this difficult moment in its efforts to stand up as a stable democracy," the White House official said.

During the meeting, NATO leaders will be discussing a whole range of issues that are about looking at the needs of NATO member states, what they can do to deal with hybrid warfare and other asymmetric threats.

"This will not be an enlargement summit, but we will move forward with packages of assistance to Georgia, and also move forward further down the road, the prospects for Montenegro's membership in the alliance," Kupchan said.

On Afghanistan, the main issue would be discussion on resourcing the mission, making sure that that mission has the necessary financial support from member states and partners.

"The main effort there is really, number one, the resources, and two, getting the warm bodies ready. And obviously, we're in a fluid situation on the ground in Afghanistan, and we are trying to work out exactly who will be the representative of Afghanistan at the opening session, which focuses on this issue," Kupchan said.

(Published 30 August 2014, 06:54 IST)

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