What to expect from the NATO summit in Madrid

NATO leaders will meet in Madrid from June 28th to 30th as one of the most promising conferences recently held by the military alliance.

NATO is strengthening its eastern side as Sweden and Finland aim to pave the way for accession, and the war-torn Ukraine is anxious for more military assistance.

A breakthrough in Sweden and Finland?

The status of the alliance’s latest applicants is probably the most pressing question before the summit. Many expected Sweden and Finland to come to the capital of Spain at the invitation of NATO. The accession protocol has been signed and the ratification process is already underway in the current 30 NATO member parliaments.

However, in mid-May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposed the application of Scandinavian countries and was unofficially imposed on Ankara by a military invasion of northern Syria and foreign support for various causes of Kurds. Expressed concern about the ban on Western weapons in Syria. Especially in Sweden. The process, which was supposed to be accelerated, is now almost stopped for over a month.

Beside the June 28 summit, Prime Minister Erdogan, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson, and Finland’s President Saulininist will pay attention to the conference designed by NATO Secretary General Jensstrutenberg. This comes after Stoltemberg said on the weekend a “good call” with the President of Turkey and negotiations between diplomats from the three countries of Brussels.

Related: Finland and Sweden will discuss NATO’s bid with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on June 28, the President of Finland said.

The Swedish Prime Minister also stopped by NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 27, raising speculation that a compromise is underway. However, NATO was keen to ease expectations, saying that the summit was “never a deadline.”

The question now is whether Prime Minister Erdogan is ready to reach an agreement and how far Sweden is willing to compromise. NATO officials familiar with the issue of anonymity have a “coordinated optimism” to RFE / RL that they can reach an agreement, and Turkish leaders themselves on the international stage. He suggested that he might want to portray it as a trading broker. ‘

In order for Sweden and Finland to receive the blessing of Prime Minister Erdogan, the arms embargo on Turkey will not be fully implemented (a practice already adopted by many Western countries), and the anti-terrorism law promoted by Ankara will be strengthened. You may need to agree to do so.

For Sweden, which has a significant number of Kurdish immigrant communities, that may mean less explicit support for both Syrian and Turkish Kurdish organizations-and perhaps for certain individuals desired by Turkish authorities. Delivery.

Sweden and Finland close to NATO

If any goodwill agreement between the trios is signed and the accession process can begin, don’t be surprised by Turkey’s veto further ahead, even if Erdogan feels that the Nordic pledges are not being kept.

Best way to support Ukraine

The summit is, of course, dominated by the ongoing war in Ukraine. This is even more urgent after G7 leaders called a Russian missile attack at a crowded shopping center in the city of Kremenchuk in central Ukraine a “war crime.” There was speculation that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would attend the Madrid summit directly, but he will address NATO leaders via a video link.

Related Item: Russian missile attacks rage in the east increase death toll

There is almost certainly more specific support for Kyiv, including what NATO calls a “new comprehensive support package” consisting of equipment such as drones, bulletproof vests, secure communication tools, and fuel. Individual allies may also pledge heavier military equipment.

Private discussions will focus on how much military equipment should be provided to Ukraine and for how long. For now, NATO’s policy is that everyone needs to be prepared for long distances and has a political and moral obligation to provide substantial support to Ukraine. But this stance could be revisited later this year as war becomes one of the ever-declining ones and Western voters’ sympathy for Ukraine diminishes.

Strengthening Eastern Frank

I’ve heard repeatedly in Madrid that NATO is a “defense alliance” that is “ready to protect every corner of its allies.” This is a message aimed at Moscow as a deterrent and NATO’s population as a guarantee.

When Russia annexed Crimean in 2014, NATO first deployed a battlegroup ready for combat in the eastern part of the alliance. These battlegroups, located in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, are now expected to be strengthened from battalions to brigades. And since this spring, battlegroups have also been formed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

See: Lithuanian President vows to stick to Kaliningrad’s limits

But despite this army boost, there is still a lot of nerve. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas recently said her country would be “cleaned up” under the current NATO program and then released, and instead of reducing so-called “travel”, it would be an ally with more troops from day one. I urged the alliance to protect. -The power of the wire waiting on the wings.

NATO is currently “pre-assigning” troops to protect certain allies. For example, the German army is moving weapons and military equipment to Lithuania, but the army remains in Germany and is ready to deploy to the Baltic States soon.

Vilnius is currently threatened by Moscow as it is blocking EU-approved Russian products from reaching the Russian outposts of Kaliningrad. The key question is whether these “tripwire” troops are seen by member states, and most importantly by Russia. -As a sufficient deterrent.

NATO’s new strategic concept

Almost every decade, NATO agrees on a new strategic concept. This will clarify the main focus of the alliance in the coming years. The last such concept was agreed in Lisbon in 2010 in a world that looks radically different from today. At that time, the document stated that the Euro-Atlantic region was peaceful and Russia was a strategic partner. China was also not mentioned.

Expect to change in Madrid.

Related: Interview: How much does China help Russia fund the war in Ukraine?

Stortemberg said a new text’will reveal it [the NATO] Allies consider Russia to be the most important and direct threat to our security. China will also most likely be mentioned for the first time in NATO’s strategic concept. China is not said to be an “adversary,” but it is expected that Beijing will be admitted to challenging NATO’s values, interests and security.

China’s growing influence is also reflected in the fact that NATO’s Asia-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea will join the NATO summit for the first time.

Copyright (c) 2018. Reissued with permission of RFE / RL, Inc. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Washington DC20036 What to expect from the NATO summit in Madrid

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