Decisions and pledges at the NATO summit in Warsaw

NATO leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in the Polish capital Warsaw on Saturday. Here are the main decisions reached and pledges made at the meeting.

EASTERN FLANK: The 28 leaders approved the rotational deployment of four battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from next year, each expected to number up to 1,000 troops from various NATO nations. Support for a multinational brigade in Romania is also foreseen, and the alliance will consider increasing its air and sea presence in the Black Sea region. NATO's eastern-most member states are the closest geographically to Russia and feel threatened by their powerful neighbour. But Moscow has repeatedly warned that the eastward NATO expansion is threatening its national security.

MISSILE SHIELD: NATO took over command and control from the United States of a missile shield being developed in Europe in a move expected to contribute to tensions with Russia. The system is made up of four US ships in Spain, a radar system in Turkey, a missile defence command centre in Germany and an interceptor site in Romania. A second interceptor facility is due to be completed in Poland by 2018. Moscow believes the system could be used to shoot down Russian missiles, but NATO argues that this is technically impossible. The US says the system is actually meant to counter Iran.

UKRAINE: The leaders endorsed a comprehensive assistance package aimed at bringing Ukraine in line with NATO standards and more closely aligning their forces. It aims to "streamline and enhance" existing support to Kiev, the White House said. The package includes material and practical assistance in 40 areas covering defence and security, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, while the number of NATO advisors in the country will increase.

Poroshenko also held separate talks in Warsaw with US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Obama said the leaders reaffirmed their "strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need to continue political and economic reforms."

AFGHANISTAN: Given the precarious security situation in the country, the leaders agreed to continue training Afghan security forces through 2017 and finance them through 2020. A number of the 39 countries participating in NATO's training mission had initially planned to whittle down their presence in the country this year, but continuing Taliban violence prompted a rethink.

ISLAMIC STATE: The US has long been keen to incorporate NATO in the coalition it is leading against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The leaders approved the deployment of NATO surveillance planes in the vicinity of the two countries, as well as a return of NATO military trainers to Iraq. That mission could start at the beginning of next year, sources said.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: NATO is transforming its anti-terrorism Active Endeavour operation in the Mediterranean Sea into a more flexible mission called Sea Guardian, so that it can also tackle tasks like capacity building and intelligence gathering. It is additionally expected to help the European Union with its efforts to curb migrant smuggling and weapons smuggling off the Libyan coast.

EU COOPERATION: Top NATO and EU officials signed a declaration pledging more cooperation, which has been historically difficult because of long-standing tensions between NATO member Turkey and EU member Cyprus. The military alliance and the bloc are expected to cooperate on issues such as cybersecurity, capacity building in third countries and hybrid threats. NATO and the EU currently have 28 member states each, 22 of them in common.

CYBER DOMAIN: NATO wants to better protect itself against attacks launched over the internet. Its leaders declared cyberspace a new military operational domain. This will allow additional resources to be made available and cyberattacks to be handled like air, sea or land attacks would be.

DEFENCE SPENDING: NATO leaders reconfirmed a pledge to have their yearly defence spending reach 2 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020. Allies whose spending has been stagnating faced pressure in Warsaw to do more.

Last update: Sun, 10/07/2016 - 12:45
Author: 

More from World

Turkish police detain member of parliament from pro-Kurdish party

Turkish police detained on Thursday Huda Kaya, a member of parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party...

120 civilians killed in airstrikes on Iraqi town, MP says

Airstrikes on an Iraqi town held by the Islamic State extremist militia have killed 120 civilians, an Iraqi member...

Biggest clash in months kills 7 drug smugglers in northern Thailand

A clash between Thailand's border guards and armed drug smugglers in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district killed seven on...

Monitor: Nearly 500 civilians killed in Aleppo in past month

Nearly 500 civilians have been killed in both government-controlled and rebel-held Aleppo since the middle of...

Report: Turkey starts operation against high-ranking Gulen followers

Turkish police began an operation Thursday to arrest a number of high-ranking followers of preacher Fethullah Gulen...