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Category Archives: NATO

NATO Deputy Secretary General stresses the importance of security partnership for democracy – NATO HQ

Posted: June 20, 2020 at 10:48 am

On 19 June 2020, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoan participated in an online discussion of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit. The session about the Military Backbone of Democracy covered the current global security issues we face today and the resulting new challenges for global multilateral cooperation, including the COVID-19 outbreak. The Deputy Secretary General gave his perspectives on how the military and security partnership is important for democracy.

Speaking about COVID-19, he underlined that while all countries have been challenged by the pandemic, NATO nations have come together to support each other. He stressed that military forces from across the Alliance have transported medical personnel and hundreds of tons of supplies, facilitated the construction of almost 100 field hospitals.Speaking about the economic recovery, the Deputy Secretary General underlined that the security and defence sector can also be a powerful engine for economic recovery, as investments in critical infrastructure, logistics, and military mobility can boost jobs, investment and innovation.The Deputy Secretary General concluded that it is important for international peace and security that all countries act within the framework of international law to ensure stability and predictability and promote cooperation.

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NATO Allied ships patrol in the Black Sea – NATO HQ

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The United States Navy dock landing ship USS Oak Hill joined the guided missile destroyer USS Porter in the Black Sea on Thursday (18 June 2020) for maritime security operations and to train with Allies and partners in the region. Porter entered the Black Sea on Wednesday.

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the deployment, saying: The Black Sea is of strategic importance to NATO. Since Russias illegal annexation of Crimea, the Alliance has increased its presence in the region. This includes maritime security operations such as this one, as well as training for partner navies and coast guards, and information sharing. By working with Allies and partners, we continue to ensure the security of the Black Sea region.

The arrival of the USS Oak Hill marks the fourth time a US Navy ship patrols the Black Sea in 2020. The two vessels will not be making any port calls in the region, but stay at sea to avoid any potential COVID-19 exposure. The US Navy and other NATO navies routinely operate in the Black Sea, consistent with international law, patrolling the waters for around two-thirds of the year.

Three NATO members Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey are littoral Black Sea states, with their own forces in the region. NATO is also strengthening support for its partners Georgia and Ukraine. In April, NATO Foreign Ministers agreed to conduct more Black Sea exercises with both countries, as well as stepping up joint work to counter hybrid warfare and share more air traffic radar data.

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China is on NATO radar more than ever, says US envoy – Economic Times

Posted: at 10:48 am

Washington: NATO is reassessing its situation with regards to China, a top American envoy to the powerful military grouping has said, asserting that Beijing is on its radar more than ever in the past.

China can be a peaceful partner but it is not projecting that at the moment, Kay Bailey Hutchison, US Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), told reporters at a virtual meeting here.

"China could be a peaceful partner, a good trade partner, but they're not showing that right now, and I think NATO partners are looking at this, and NATO is beginning to assess what China is doing as well," she said.

"It's much more on our radar screen, and I think it should be because we should assess the risk, hope for the best but prepare for the worst," Hutchison said on the aggressive behaviour and provocative actions of China against Taiwan, Japan and India.

On whether a risk of an actual military confrontation was on the horizon, she said, "I think NATO is now looking to the East."

Everything that has been happening with the 5G networks is being dealt with in the US and Europe throughout the alliance, Hutchison said.

"We're trying to keep our communications secure and seeing that some of the Chinese competitors do not have the capability to control the contractual obligations that are made by communications providers all of those things, including the Belt and Road Initiative, are raising concerns, concerns among our allies, about what is the intent of China," she said.

The United States is very clear that it wants China to be a partner in the world order and it is known that China has stolen intellectual property, violated tariff and subsidies set down by the world courts and the World Trade Organization, Hutchison said.

"So we know that China has the capability to compete on a level playing field, and we're asking them to do that, but we're also turning a wary eye to their behaviour right now in the South China Sea, militarising islands that they said would never be done, as well as the clampdown on Hong Kong," she said.

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NATO to Probe France-Turkey Med Naval Incident – The New York Times

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The government in Tripoli led by Fayez Sarraj is backed not just by Turkey, which sent troops and mercenaries to protect the capital in January, but also Italy and Qatar. Rival forces under the command of Khalifa Hifter, who launched an offensive on Tripoli last year, are supported by France, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries.

Turkeys support for the government of national accords offensive goes directly against the efforts to secure a ceasefire, which we support, the French ministry said. This support is aggravated by the hostile and unacceptable actions of Turkish naval forces toward NATO allies, which is aimed at undermining efforts taking place to uphold the U.N. arms embargo.

This conduct, like all foreign interference in the Libyan conflict, must cease, it warned.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is trying to secure NATOs support for Europe's own naval effort, Operation Irini, possibly in part to avoid such incidents in the future, but diplomats and officials have said that Turkey is likely to block any such move.

Borrell, who took part in the NATO video meeting, said Wednesday that he hopes an EU-NATO cooperation agreement can be set up" shortly, because helping to enforce the arms embargo is in the security interests of both organizations.

Asked Wednesday what the response might be, Stoltenberg said we are looking into possible support, possible cooperation, but no decision has been taken. There is dialogue, contacts, addressing that as we speak.

Borrell has highlighted some of the challenges the EU naval operation faces. He said its personnel tried to make contact last week with a suspicious Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship that was being escorted by two Turkish warships. He said the ship refused to respond, but its Turkish escorts said the cargo was medical equipment bound for Libya.

The EU operation tried to verify the information with Turkish and Tanzanian authorities, and reported the incident to the United Nations, but there was nothing more it could do, he said.

___

Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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NATO seeks to enhance partnership with countries for years being in Alliances missions – Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news

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NATO seeks to strengthen partnership with the countries that have been part of the Alliances missions and operations for years.

Barbora Maronkova, Director of NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv made a corresponding statement on the air of the DOM Ukrainian TV channel, commenting on granting Enhanced Opportunity Partner status to Ukraine.

She noted that the North Atlantic Council, which is the highest decision making body of NATO, had reached an agreement to recognize Ukraine as a so-called Enhanced Opportunity Partner on June 12. What it means is that Ukraine has access to a tailor-made cooperation program with NATO. This is a program which is pretty much focused on the military technical side of cooperation. It is part of a wider initiative, which is called interoperability platform which we created already in 2014. We created this platform to be able to continue military cooperation with many partners around the world, Maronkova stressed.

According to the Director of NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv, we were looking for something which we can offer to our partners, who have been with us in our military operations, who were fighting with us shoulder to shoulder all those years. So not to lose this special cooperation, this special partnership that bonded our military. Currently, this wide type of program includes Ukraine, Sweden, Finland, Georgia, Australia and Jordan.

We are looking to enhance our partnership with countries that have for years being with us NATO in our missions and operations. Partner countries which have worked with us in different situations, different conflicts and who do a lot of training exercise with us. What it means in practice is if you imagine for example Ukrainian soldiers and you join our NATO troops in Afghanistan or you serve with us in Kosovo you work together. In order to be able to work together, you need to be able to have the so-called interoperability of your forces, equipment, of how you take commands. You need to understand each other, to be able to work together. This is why it is important both for the member states and the partner countries to have this ability to continue to work together. Because as our Secretary General says we are talking about cooperative security. That means, NATO cannot face the security challenges of today alone. We need partners. If we have partners we can be stronger together, Maronkova said.

As reported, the Enhanced Opportunity Partnership is part of the NATO initiative to strengthen the operational compatibility of the troops of its member states with the forces of the Alliance. NATO launched this program in 2014. Ukraine was granted EOP status on June 12.

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NATO Secretary General consults with Defence Ministers from the Baltic region – NATO HQ

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participated in a teleconference with the defence ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Monday (15 June 2020), as part of his ongoing political consultations in the run-up to the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers on June 17-18. The Secretary General updated ministers on plans for the ministerial.

They discussed the security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of strengthening resilience. The Secretary General thankedAlliesin the Baltic regionfor showing solidarity and working together in responding to the pandemic.

The leaders also addressed attempts by state and non-state actors to exploit the crisis, including with disinformation and propaganda. Mr Stoltenberg noted that other security challenges have not diminished because of the global pandemicand highlighted the need to continue to invest in defence. The Secretary Generalthanked Allies in the Baltic region for their continued commitment and stressedthat NATO will continue to ensure the collective defence of all Allies.

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The world needs a policeman, the bad guys are filling the US vacuum, says ex-NATO chief Rasmussen – Euronews

Posted: at 10:48 am

The world needs stronger American leadership, former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Euronews, warning of a resurgence in authoritarianism across the world.

He was speaking from the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, an annual event that he hosts and which aims to strengthen democracies worldwide through debate.

"We lack a clear, global American ideological leadership. We know from experience that when the Americans retreat, they will leave behind a vacuum, and that vacuum will be filled by the bad guy, and that's exactly what we are witnessing right now," Rasmussen told Euronews in a live TV interview.

Take the Middle East, he said, citing conflict, upheaval and the resurgence of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia in the region ever since the United States disengaged from Syria.

"The world needs a policeman to restore international law and order and I don't see any other candidate for that role than the United States," Rasmussen said.

In the meantime, he suggests setting up an alliance of democracies led by what he would like to call the D10 a group of leaders similar to the G7 that would bring together not the worlds economic heavyweights, but "democratic heavyweights like India, Australia and South Korea."

US President Trump is pulling troops out of Germany, and according to his former national security adviser John Bolton, he was on the brink of pulling out of NATO altogether. French President Emmanuel Macron also warned last year that NATO was nearly "brain dead."

Rasmussen deplored that statements like these undermine "the political credibility of the alliance".

"Of course, Europe should take more care of its own security, that goes without saying," he added. "But I consider European security linked to America."

"This is exactly why we established NATO many years ago because we need American close cooperation with Europe to ensure our security."

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Poland threat to Russia if It provides territory for NATO Military: Kremlin – The Nation

Posted: at 10:48 am

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has recently reported that Washington was considering pulling some 9,500 US troops from Germany, where about 35,000 of them are currently stationed. The move blindsided US allies in Europe, as Trump did not consult them on the issue.

Poland may pose a threat to Russia only if it provides its territory for NATO military infrastructure, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement.

The statement comes after US President Donald Trump on 15 June announced the latest redeployment of forces, which, when implemented, will reduce the US troop strength in Germany from 35,000 to around 24,000.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has commented on the matter, saying that if US troops move from Germany to Poland, it would complicate the relations between NATO and Russia. The spokeswoman suggested that should the US remove troops from Germany, it might want to take with its non-strategic nuclear weapons as well.

Over the past few years, NATO has increased its military presence near Russias borders, while Moscow has repeatedly warned that this could spark a conflict, destabilise the region, and lead to a global arms race.

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Poland to turn into threat for Russia in case of strengthening of NATO presence, – Peskov – 112 International

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Russia will see Poland as a threat if NATO facilities are deployed in that country. The spokesman for the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said this to the Channel One reporters, as RBC reports.

"As a country ready to provide its territory for the military infrastructure of third countries or for an organization such as the North Atlantic Alliance, this poses a threat to us," Peskov said.

He noted that at the moment, Russia does not consider Poland a country of danger. However, "a consistent drift of NATO's military infrastructure" toward Russian borders is undesirable for Moscow. According to Peskov, this is forcing Russia to strengthen measures to guarantee security.

On June 19, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called NATO's "provocative" actions in the Baltic states and Poland.

In March of this year, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz announced the creation of up to six new NATO military facilities for various purposes in the country.

In addition, in May, the United States announced its intention to redeploy part of its military contingent from Germany to Poland.

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RAF Fighter Jets, Surveillance and Refuelling aircraft have been in action across Europe this week in support of NATO allies – GOV.UK

Posted: at 10:48 am

During the early morning of 15 June, Typhoons from RAF Coningsby met up with two US Ai Force (USAF) B-52 bombers off the North of Scotland as they arrived from their base in the USA to conduct a long-range strategic training mission in the annual NATO BALTOPs exercise in the Baltic region.

The Typhoons welcomed the B-52s as they entered UK airspace and then escorted them across the North Sea as they were refuelled by USAF KC-135 tankers from RAF Mildenhall. The Typhoons from XI(F) Sqn were supported by a Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton, with coordination being provided by RAF Sentry and Sentinel aircraft from RAF Waddington.

As the B-52s from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota left Danish airspace, they conducted additional training with French Mirage 2000 and then RAF Typhoon jets from the Baltic Air Policing mission as they flew over Latvia and Estonia.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

NATO remains the best guarantor of our collective security and we continue to stand alongside our allies in the Baltics. That is why, despite the ongoing pandemic, the RAFs participation in this multinational exercise is vital for enhancing Allied capabilities and demonstrating our combined strength.

The following day Typhoons from the RAF Lossiemouth based 6 Sqn deployed in Lithuania, switched from the BALTOPS exercise to intercept a SU-24 Fencer E and two SU-35 Flanker M Russian aircraft operating off the Baltic coast. This was followed on the 18 June by another Typhoon scramble to deter and intercept a Russian IL-20 COOT A intelligence gathering aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

Wing Commander Stu Gwinnett, the 135 Expeditionary Air Wing commander that is carrying out the NATO Air Policing mission said:

This weeks missions have highlighted the flexibility of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission; whether its working with the US Bomber Task Force or reacting to live Baltic airspace incursions, we are ready to react. This is a testament to the flexibility, training and professionalism of the deployed RAF personnel here in Lithuania and our ability to work with our NATO partners.

Reflecting on the air activity this week Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, the Chief of the Air Staff said:

In a week that has been a painful reminder of the dangers of what we do, we have also demonstrated air and space power on a global scale, operating at range, at speed, and precisely. Royal Air Force command and control, surveillance, refuelling and fighter aircraft working alongside our NATO allies, patrolling our skies and protecting our shared freedom.

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