Daily Archives: September 9, 2020

NATO marks 40th anniversary of the Solidarity movement, unveils emblem – NATO HQ

Posted: September 9, 2020 at 11:22 am

Today (9 September 2020), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoan marked 40 years since the start of Solidarno in Poland by unveiling a copy of its famous emblem at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He was joined by the Permanent Representative of Poland to NATO, Ambassador Tomasz Szatkowski, and other members of the North Atlantic Council.

The Deputy Secretary General said that the independent trade union and movement, which began in the shipyards of Gdansk in 1980, had served as an inspiration for Poland and the rest of the world. It united the Polish people against the Communist regime and would eventually help usher its downfall.

Geoan noted that the idea of solidarity is also at the core of NATO: "Allied solidarity is the foundation of Article 5. It embodies the spirit of consultation, cooperation and burden sharing that connects all members of the NATO alliance, our alliance, in words but also in deeds. He added that NATO also supported the Solidarity movement through its commitment to prevent a Soviet intervention in Poland.

The Deputy Secretary General noted that the basic right to freedom and solidarity applies to all nations, and expressed concern for the violence used today against peaceful protestors in Belarus. He stressed that the people of Belarus have the right to free speech and the right to decide their own future, without interference from abroad.

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What is Nato good for? – The National

Posted: at 11:22 am

if Nato didnt already exist, would it be necessary to invent it today?

Several factors make this a timely question. The first, involving as it does Donald Trump, has provoked fits of the vapours in the usual quarters. According to a new book, the US Presidents former chief of staff, retired marine general John Kelly, said that one of the most difficult tasks he faced with Trump was trying to stop him from pulling out of Nato". Even if Mr Trump doesn't officially do so either before the presidential election or after, if he wins there is speculation that he could effectively destroy Nato by reinterpreting Article 5 of Natos founding treaty.

This has always been deemed to mean that an attack on one member would be followed by collective, armed self-defence. But the wording is not strict. In such circumstances, each member is bound to take such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force". But as Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution told The New York Times: He could just reinterpret it as, I could just send a strongly worded letter'.

This may have partisans of the Atlantic alliance wringing their hands, but in a period when Nato members Turkey and Greece have exchanged threats of war over disputed gas resources in the Mediterranean and may escalate further instant invocation of armed collective action would be impossible. Nato could not come to the defence of both sides, after all.

Greek warships take part in military exercises in Eastern Mediterranean sea, as tensions rise with Turkey over the waters. Greek Defense Ministry/AP

The Greek air force joined the exercises. Greek Defense Ministry/AP

The Tonnerre is escorted by Greek and French military vessels. Greek National Defence/AP)

The French Tonnerre helicopter carrier, rear left, is escorted by Greek and French military vessels during a maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Greek and Turkish warships are also closely shadowing each other. (Greek National Defence/AP)

The Turkish seismic research vessel 'Oruc Reis' heading west of Antalya in the Mediterranean Sea. Turkish Defence Ministry/AFP

Tension are high between Greece and Turkey, over the 'Oruc-Reis' and its mission in the eastern Mediterranean. IHA via AP

Turkeys claims to the waters, which it says are on its continental shelf, have repeatedly been dismissed as illegal by Greece and its allies. Turkish Defence Ministry/AFP

Turkish ships accompany the 'Oruc Reis,' a seismic research vessel. Turkish Defence Ministry/AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for dialogue while still pushing ahead with a Mediterranean gas development plan that has outraged Greece. AFP

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned of the potential for a mishap with Greek and Turkish navies both in the area.. EPA

France will strengthen its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean. Reuters

Further, Nato has expanded so egregiously in recent decades that there is uncertainty that Article 5 is the same cast-iron guarantee that it was during the Cold War. Would all parties go to war for North Macedonia, or over an accidental Russian border incursion into Estonia?

Mr Trump is not alone in asking what Nato is for these days. He is echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who last November declared that the organisation was brain dead. Mr Macron also queried whether Article 5 would still trigger a collective response.

This not only a matter for the 30 members of the alliance. For Nato has long been looking east. It established Global Partnerships with South Korea, New Zealand, Mongolia, Australia and Japan in the first half of the last decade, and is now focusing increasingly on China. Other voices are urging the Quad of the US, Japan, Australia and India to become the basis of an Indo-Pacific Nato, as the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun put it at the end of last month.

If Nato is to have a larger presence and an enhanced role in East Asia, or is to be joined by a regional version, the question still remains: what is its purpose?

One answer to that is that it is an alliance of democracies. Mr Biegun alluded to that in his remarks, saying that the Trump administrations Indo-Pacific strategy is focused around democracies. Natos London Declaration issued last December also states in the second sentence that the organisation guarantees the values we share, including democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.

As a core raison detre of the alliance this is problematic, however. Firstly because one of Natos current challenges is that a number of members including Hungary, Poland and Turkey remain democracies but are deemed to have taken a markedly illiberal or even authoritarian turn. Secondly, as the US academics James Goldgeier and Garret Martin pointed out in a recent article, being a democracy during the Cold War was not a pre-condition of membership: Portugal did not become a democracy until 1974. As for Greece and Turkey, the former was governed by a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974, while the latter was the subject of multiple military-led coups.

President Macrons pointed questions remain the key ones. Who is our common enemy? he said. This question deserves to be clarified. Is our enemy today, as I hear sometimes, Russia? Is it China? Is it the Atlantic alliances purpose to designate them as enemies? I dont think so.

I agree with Mr Macron, but there are plenty of Nato boosters who dont. For instance Ian Brzezinski, a senior defence official under former US president George W Bush, proposes setting up a Nato-China Council, which sounds promising. He then writes, though, that its establishment would underscore that this dimension of great power competition is not between China and the United States but between China and the transatlantic community".

The London Declaration similarly oscillates between sounding conciliatory Nato is a defensive Alliance and poses no threat to any country and more bellicose, declaring that Russias aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security and that Chinas growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an alliance".

The truth is that for all the airy talk of the values we share, what bound Nato together during the Cold War was standing up to the Soviet Union. It is a security alliance; it is not and cannot be an alliance of liberal democracies (otherwise several members would have to be expelled and others in Asia would not want to join). For it to be strong, perhaps it does need a common enemy; but that is not an argument for choosing one that makes confrontation more likely.

Better, perhaps, for Nato to expand to become a global security umbrella and agree with Mr Macron when he said that our common enemy is terrorism, which has hit all of our countries".

This would be a much scaled-down, less ambitious Nato. It would be a shadow of the military alliance that once kept the West safe no disadvantage in the Covid-19-straitened present. But with Russia and China inside it, or at least as strong partners, it would be a better one for our times. And it would be a Nato that could adequately answer the question: what is it for?

Sholto Byrnes is an East Asian affairs columnist for The National

Updated: September 8, 2020 02:06 PM

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US must remain committed to NATO and the Baltic States – Atlantic Council

Posted: at 11:22 am

People hold NATO flags as they celebrate the anniversary of Latvia joining to NATO, in Riga March 29, 2014. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members of NATO on March 29, 2004. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

The three Baltic countries of Northern Europe have long been allies of the United States and valued members of the NATO community. In the 20th century, the United States refused to recognize the Soviet Unions claim on Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia and supported the restoration of their independence in 1991. Our Baltic friends never forgot this important solidarity, and since then have promoted democracy and stability in their corner of Europe and worked diligently to attain membership in NATO and the EU community through systemic reforms to their economy, governance, and security. Rightfully so, the Baltics saw their integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions as an important deterrent to Russian influence, which continues to loom as a regional threat to their sovereignty and national security.

These threats have only escalated since Russias invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. In this context, it is vital that the United States firmly recommit to NATO and increase its support of the Baltic countries to ensure the continuation of strong bilateral relations and the effective partnerships that have strengthened the entire transatlantic community.

Membership in NATO, a long-time aspiration for the Baltics, required that they undergo robust changes, and the subsequent reform process served as a key element for strengthening bilateral relations with the United States and a foundational pillar of transatlantic security. Since their accession in 2004, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have been responsible members of, and active contributors to, the NATO alliance. Despite the size of their national military forces, each country has actively supported regional security in Europe and participated in global NATO activities, including contributing troops to missions in Afghanistan. By 2019, all three countries increased their defense spending to the recommended two percent of their overall national budgets.

This upwards trajectory has resulted in vital support from the international community. At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, NATO reaffirmed its support for the Baltics by introducing Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) units to all three Baltic states as well as Poland. NATO also now provides fighter aircraft to the Baltics, which have been increased following the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, the non-permanent nature of these programs is not sufficient to guarantee the full military capabilities of the Baltics nor to bring peace of mind to its citizens. Given increased Russian presence in the region, each country must rely heavily on the collective defense agreement of the North Atlantic Treaty if it hopes to stand a chance against foreign interference. The United States together with its European partners and the international community must do more to prevent such foreign interference and ensure that the Baltic states are fully equipped with the tools and support structures that underpin their security.

To date, the United States has demonstrated its support for the Baltic region through the US-Baltic Charter, an alliance of values among the countries signed in 1998. The signatories agreed to a shared vision of a peaceful and increasingly integrated Europe, free of divisions, dedicated to democracy, the rule of law, free markets, and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people. The Charters emphasis on the vitality of independence and territorial integrity established grounds for a prosperous partnership and paved the way for Baltic integration into NATO. It provides an established path to follow for re-engaging with our allies and strengthening this vital transatlantic partnership. Perhaps even more so than in any recent year, this mission remains relevant and timely.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have strongly demonstrated their dedication to the transatlantic alliance and have worked diligently to implement systematic reforms on a variety of shared concerns ranging from energy security, transparency, and economic vitality.

It is therefore highly unfortunate to witness recent statements and actions taken by US President Donald Trump that do not appear to recognize these important achievements nor the Baltics role as vital allies. Recent public comments by the president and in private conversations reported by former National Security Advisor John Bolton indicate that rather than strengthening and appreciating the value of the NATO Alliance, if elected to a second term, President Trump may wish to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty. This has not gone unnoticed by our European friends. A recent New York Times article notes analysis by the Atlantic Councils Jorge Benitez that some European officials see the escalation of negative steps, and they are definitely concerned that that negative pattern could continue if Trump is re-elected. This concern is not only worrying to Europeans but also to many leaders in the US Congress. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations warned in the same article that withdrawing from NATO would be nothing short of catastrophic.

The United States has profound interests in maintaining NATO and the sovereignty and security of the Baltic region. Now is the time for the United States to rise to this leadership role by deepening our commitment to NATO and supporting the Baltic countries to foster a strong and united transatlantic community. There exists today the opportunity to work on a new US-Baltic Charter to address todays challenges. These could include promoting democracy, free and fair elections, and freedom of the press in the region; combating disinformation; expanding bilateral trade and investment between the United States and the Baltics; and supporting nations that wish to join the Euro-Atlantic family. Just as in 1991, a show of solidarity by the United States can help strengthen and protect the Baltic States, allowing them to continue to grow and faithfully contribute to the transatlantic community.

Sally A. Painter is chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies, LLC, an Atlantic Council board director, and a senior adviser to the Atlantic Councils Future Europe Initiative.

Tue, Jun 2, 2020

Nations in Europes northeast cooperate through a variety of multilateral security and defense arrangements. Geometries of Deterrence assesses how these arrangements individually and collectively contribute to deterrence and defense in Northeastern Europe.

In-Depth Research & ReportsbyHans Binnendijk and Conor Rodihan

Tue, Dec 3, 2019

Russia has shown with its actions that it is a serious security threat, Estonian defense minister Jri Luik said during a panel discussion on Baltic and Black sea security during the NATO engages event in London on December 3. For Lithuania, [Russia] is the only external existential threat we have, added Lithuanian defense minister Raimundas Karoblis.

New AtlanticistbyDavid A. Wemer

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Allies and Former U.S. Officials Fear Trump Could Seek NATO Exit in a Second Term – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:22 am

It is a real risk, said Thomas Wright, the director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington. We know from Kelly and Bolton that he wanted to go much further in the first term. If he feels that he has been totally vindicated in the election, and he feels that people have endorsed his policies, I think he could effectively withdraw from NATO.

Congress would most likely move to block any effort by Mr. Trump to exit the alliance altogether, but experts said he could deal it a near-lethal blow in other ways. One would be to undermine a provision in the original treaty, Article 5, that calls for collective self-defense. Previous presidents have interpreted it as a promise to defend any member from military attacks, but Mr. Trump has questioned it.

He could just reinterpret it as, I could just send a strongly worded letter, Mr. Wright said.

Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington, noted that the Trump administration announced plans in July to withdraw 12,000 American troops from Germany, the strategic heart of the alliance, and sought to cut funding for the Pentagons European Deterrence Initiative, a program whose funding the administration initially called for increasing and pointed to as evidence of the presidents support for the alliance.

European officials, Mr. Benitez said, see the escalation of negative steps, and they are definitely concerned that that negative pattern could continue if Trump is re-elected.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats focused on security issues say a re-elected Mr. Trump could permanently reshape the relationship between the United States and Europe, which has been defined for generations by Washingtons bipartisan role as a leader and protector of the continent.

Withdrawing from NATO would be nothing short of catastrophic and further highlights the historic importance of this election, said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire and a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Bipartisan support for NATO in Congress is unwavering and overwhelming, and there are significant procedural hurdles if any president were to choose this path, Ms. Shaheen added. President Trump has undermined trans-Atlantic relations from Day 1, and the only one reaping the benefits is Vladimir Putin. Speculation of a future withdrawal is in itself a victory for the Kremlin and beyond Putins wildest dreams.

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Allies and Former U.S. Officials Fear Trump Could Seek NATO Exit in a Second Term - The New York Times

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Deputy Secretary General addresses meeting of the Aqaba Process – NATO HQ

Posted: at 11:22 am

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoan took part in a virtual meeting of the Aqaba Process on Wednesday (2 September 2020). The Aqaba Process is an initiative by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to enhance global coordination and cooperation to counter terrorism.

The Deputy Secretary General spoke to the meeting of world leaders and representatives from international organisations about the security challenges of COVID-19 and NATOs response to the pandemic. Mr. Geoan praised Jordan as a leader in countering violent extremism and for being a valuable partner of NATO.

The Alliance and Jordan are united in their work to counter international terrorism. NATO and Jordanian forces have a long track record of practical cooperation and have worked together from the Balkans to Afghanistan. NATO has also helped strengthen Jordans capabilities, including cyber defence, border security and countering improvised explosive devices.

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Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny – NATO HQ

Posted: at 11:22 am

Allies condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack on Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition figure, with the use of a nerve agent from the banned Novichok group.

Any use of chemical weapons, under any circumstances, is a clear breach of international law and contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of all chemical weapons.

We are united in our call on Russia, as a matter of urgency, to be fully transparent and to bring those responsible to justice, bearing in mind Russias commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention. In this context, as part of a joint international response, Allies support the important role of the OPCW and urge Russia to immediately disclose any information relevant for its work.

Allies thank Germany for hosting Mr Navalny and the Charit hospital in Berlin for his treatment. Our thoughts are with him and his family. We wish him a swift and full recovery

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Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny - NATO HQ

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Tachyum Opens U.S., EU and NATO Government Business Unit – Business Wire

Posted: at 11:22 am

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tachyum Inc. today announced it is opening a business unit to serve U.S., EU and NATO member government customers of its Prodigy Universal Processor for demanding HPC, artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads.

Although the companys primary market is hyperscale data centers, Tachyums CEO Dr. Rado Danilak recognized that government agencies notably military and intelligence are early adopters of Prodigy. Its ultra-low-power, ultra-high-performance enables and vastly improves next-generation defense systems such as unmanned aircraft and underwater systems, cybersecurity, communications, analytics, and more.

Prodigys unique attributes set the conditions to create a computing architecture fully aligned with the operational and strategic imperatives of our national strategy, said retired Army Lieutenant General Richard Zahner. He is a career electronic intelligence specialist who headed signals intelligence at the National Security Agency (NSA) and ended his career as Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence. The new microchip could help restore Americas technological edge. This sort of re-levels the playing field potentially in our favor, he told the Washington Times.

AI and HPC are strategic to US, EU and NATO members' government, military and intelligence environments, and as demand grew rapidly, we saw the need to organize a separate unit around these projects, said Dr. Radoslav Danilak, Tachyum founder and CEO. Supercomputers, defense, national security, government and intelligence agencies are interested in Prodigy because it will execute human brain-scale AI 15 years ahead of any other technology, achieving breakthroughs other governments cannot.

Prodigy excels in technologies such as edge computing, IoT, HPC, convolutional AI, explainable AI, general AI, bio AI and spiking neural networks. For example, translating between English and Chinese requires a neural network with a capacity of more than 11 terabytes and is an arduous task on currently available supercomputer GPU processors of 20GB each. In contrast, Tachyums Prodigy fits 8TB per chip which is 32TB in coherent DRAM per node.

Tachyums team already includes several personnel carrying top-secret clearances, providing appropriate security levels for developing federal projects. Team members, including Tachyum founders, serving government customers have worked on classified technologies at entities such as Sandia and Skyera, and worked for the U.S. government and/or military.

Demanding AI/ML applications are currently run on specialty, single-purpose chips such as GPU and TPU, while CPUs power conventional workloads resulting in high costs and inefficiency due to dual infrastructures. Instead, Tachyum's Prodigy supports both on a single homogeneous processor platform with its simple programming model. Prodigys ability to seamlessly switch among various workloads dramatically changes the competitive landscape and the economics of data centers.

Prodigy outperforms todays fastest Xeon processors while consuming 10x lower power on data center workloads, and outperforms NVIDIAs fastest GPU on HPC, AI training and inferencing. A mere 125 HPC Prodigy racks can deliver 32 tensor EXAFLOPS. Prodigys 3x lower cost per MIPS and 10x lower core power requirements translate to a 4x lower data center Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), enabling savings of millions to billions of dollars.

Prodigy will enter volume production in 2021. For more information on Tachyum Government, please visit https://www.tachyum.us/.

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About Tachyum

Tachyum is disrupting data centers, HPC and AI markets by providing universality, Industry leading performance, cost and power, while enabling data centers that are more powerful than the human brain. Tachyum, Co-founded by Dr. Radoslav Danilak, and its flagship product Prodigy, the worlds first and only universal processor, begins production in 2021 targeting a $50B market growing at 20% per year. With data centers currently consuming over 3% of the planets electricity, and 10% by 2025, low power Prodigy is critical for the continued doubling of worldwide data center capacity every 4 years. Tachyum has offices in the USA and Slovakia, EU. For more information, visit https://tachyum.com.

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Diplomats worry that Trump will withdraw from NATO if he gets a 2nd term as president – Business Insider – Business Insider

Posted: at 11:22 am

President Donald Trump has repeatedly, privately spoken about withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, The New York Times reported on Thursday. And if he wins a second term as president, he may be able to pull it off.

The Times reported that officials in the US and in Europe are worried that if Trump wins another term, he may be emboldened to actually withdraw from the military alliance.

Former senior national security officials in Trump's administration have said the move could be a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who views NATO as a bulwark against his global ambitions.

Trump has a history of being critical of NATO. In December, he undercut one of the alliances' principals when he suggestedthat the US may not defend a fellow memberif it came under attack.

The Times reported that while Congress would probably block Trump's effort to withdraw from the alliance, he could still take other measures to undermine it. He could, for example, loosely adhere to Article 5, which calls for collective defense.

Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton said in June that the president clashed with European leaders over his belief that other countries did not spend enough money on defense at a NATO summit in 2017.

Bolton, in his recent book "The Room Where it Happened," also said that Trump repeatedly said he wanted to quit NATO. Last month, Bolton told a Spanish newspaper that Trump could possibly even declare his intent to withdraw from the alliance in October as a promise for his second term ahead of the November election.

John Kelly, a retired general, said "one of the most difficult tasks he faced with Trump was trying to stop him from pulling out of NATO," according to a book published this week from Times reporter Michael Schmidt.

"It is a real risk," Thomas Wright, the director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, told the Times. "We know from Kelly and Bolton that he wanted to go much further in the first term. If he feels that he has been totally vindicated in the election, and he feels that people have endorsed his policies, I think he could effectively withdraw from NATO."

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NATO: Turkey, Greece start talks to reduce risk of conflict – The Associated Press

Posted: at 11:22 am

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Despite a denial from Greece, the chief of NATO said Friday that Greece and Turkey have started technical discussions aimed at reducing the risk of armed conflict or accidents amid military tensions between the allies over offshore energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

No agreement has been reached from the military-level talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Greeces foreign minister, meanwhile, headed to New York to discuss the regional dispute centered around maritime boundaries and drilling rights.

Neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been locked for weeks in a tense standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf.

Ankara says it has every right to prospect there and accuses Greece of trying to grab an unfair share of maritime resources.

Stoltenberg announced Thursday that the two sides had agreed to start technical talks to reduce the risks of military incidents and accidents.

But Athens quickly denied any such agreement, saying Turkey must first withdraw its ships from the area where it is carrying out gas and oil prospecting. Ankara said it backed Stoltenbergs initiative for military and technical talks and called on Greece to do the same.

On Friday, the NATO chief said Greek, Turkish and allied military officers had begun talks aimed at ensuring that some of the standoffs between the two countries armed forces in the Mediterranean dont break out into open conflict. NATO officials said the first talks were held Thursday.

As long as we have so many ships in the eastern Mediterranean, we believe that there is a need to have technical talks on how to develop enhanced mechanisms for deconfliction, Stoltenberg told reporters. No agreement has been reached yet, but the talks have started.

While its relatively rare for NATO to have to step in to reduce tensions between member nations, the military alliance has helped set up similar systems in the past, including communications hotlines for use in case of emergencies.

Stoltenberg underlined that the military-level talks are only aimed at avoiding any incident between Greece and Turkey and are very distinct from the diplomatic efforts to find a long-term solution to the standoff.

These are technical talks rather than negotiations on the underlying dispute between Greece and Turkey and as such they are meant to complement, not replace, the efforts led by Germany for political mediation towards deescalation, he said.

Since Turkey dispatched a vessel accompanied by warships to do exploratory research, Greeces armed forces have been placed on alert. Both countries sent warships to the area and carried out live-fire exercises between the islands of Crete and Cyprus and Turkeys southern coast.

Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots have multiplied over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. A Turkish and a Greek frigate collided last month, reportedly causing minor damage to the Turkish frigate but no injuries.

The crisis is the most serious in the two countries relations in decades. The neighbors have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once over maritime resources in the Aegean Sea.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will focus on issues of international and regional interest, with an emphasis on current developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue, as well as the role of the U.N.. the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Dendias would be delivering a letter from him to Guterres detailing what he said was Turkeys illegal activity in the region.

Speaking with Chinas top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Athens, Mitsotakis said Greece faces aggression from Turkey and actions that dispute every rule of the U.N. charter, with a rhetoric that distorts history and changes geography, undermining legality and with actions that are endangering security in the entire Mediterranean.

Mitsotakis said Greece supports good neighborly relations, and noted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is open to dialogue.

And to this I reply with six clear words: The provocations stop, the dialogue starts, Mitsotakis said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meanwhile accused Greece of lying about the NATO initiative, saying Stoltenberg had consulted with Ankara and Athens and both agreed to the technical talks before making his announcement.

Greece has refuted the NATO secretary general, Cavusoglu told reporters. But it isnt the NATO secretary general who is lying, its Greece itself who is lying. ... Greece has once again shown that it does not favor a dialogue.

Cavusoglu and Stoltenberg later held a telephone conversation to discuss the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, but didnt provide details.

A Greek Foreign Ministry official retorted that Cavusoglu anxious to shift the focus of the debate from Turkeys illegal behavior, has baptized as talks a NATO proposal on a technical level for a reduction of the tension Turkey itself is causing in the eastern Mediterranean region.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the record on the issue.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Turkeys ruling party, Omer Celik, said the European Union could no longer count on Turkeys cooperation in stemming the flow of migrants and refugees to Europe if it goes ahead with plans to sanction Turkey over its exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

I dont expect things to come to the point of sanctions. The EU should not expect cooperation on refugees after that time, Celik said in an interview with Turkeys NTV news channel. They should not think that they can sanction (Turkey) in the eastern Mediterranean and continue to cooperate in other areas.

Earlier this year, tens of thousands of migrants gathered at Turkeys border with Greece, demanding to be allowed to cross, after the Turkish president declared the borders with Europe open to migrants wanting to head into EU nations.


Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.

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Russia Claims NATO Deploying More Troops on Border and Increasing Spy Flights – The National Interest

Posted: at 11:22 am

According to a top Russian military official, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is massing troops near its border and increasing flights of reconnaissance aircraft. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters over the weekend that NATO plans to redeploy another U.S. military contingent to Poland in the near future, and that NATO Allied Command Operations in Eastern Europe has now surpassed 10,000 troops.

In the near future additional American units are planned to be redeployed to Poland, Shoigu told Tass. Under the pretext of the need to strategically constrain Russia, the United States and other non-regional members of the alliance are bolstering their military presence in Eastern Europe.

Poland, which only celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary of gaining its independence last year, has been a full NATO member since April 1999, and its current Armed Forces consist of roughly 100,000 soldiers. In 1939 the eastern European nation was invaded by Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. During the Cold War it was a member of the Communist Bloc.

Now located on NATOs eastern flank, close to Russia, Poland plays a role similar to that of West Germany during the Cold War. However, Shoigu has seen the NATO build-up as an issue to Russias security, and told Russian state media that the deployment of NATO forces has taken place despite the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, in which NATO agreed not to deploy considerable military forces near the contact line.

The Allied Command Operations exercises near the Russian borders almost doubled in comparison with 2014, Shoigu added. Their scenarios involve practicing the creation of large groups on the NATO eastern flank.

Increased Reconnaissance Flights

The other concern that Shoigu noted was the increase in what he described as spy flights near the Russian border, and the defense ministry said these have surged by one-third since last year.

The North Atlantic Alliances nations have recently intensified their intelligence activities, Shoigu told state media at the conclusion of last months Army Games-2020. The intensity of use of NATO surveillance aircraft close to Russian borders has increased by more than 30% in comparison to last year. There were 87 flights last August and now there are about 120.

Shoigu also noted how at the end of August and into September, the Russian Aerospace Forces scrambled jet fighters at least ten times to intercept spy planes over the Baltic, Barents and Black Seas. This included the scrambling of the Russian Northern Fleets MiG-31 fighters to intercept an Orion maritime patrol plane from the Royal Norwegian Air Force for a third day in a row.

These are just the most recent claims made by Russia, and follows claims made in June that foreign spy planes flew near the Russian border thirty times in a single week.

For its part, Russia has also increased its own reconnaissance and patrol flights, and this has included multiple flights of the Cold War-era Tupolev Tu-22M3 missile-carrying bombers over the Barents Sea and also off the coast of Alaska. Perhaps Shoigu needs to be reminded of those missions.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

Image: Reuters

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Russia Claims NATO Deploying More Troops on Border and Increasing Spy Flights - The National Interest

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