Agenda of NATO meetings in Brussels includes Afghanistan, relations with Russia, Georgia
The agenda of a series of meetings of foreign ministers, which start at the NATO headquarters on Tuesday, will include the situation in Afghanistan, developing relations of NATO with Russia and Georgia and the upcoming NATO summit.
On the first day the foreign ministers of 28 NATO countries will discuss the agenda of the summit, which is planned for September 4-5, 2014 in Southern Wales in the UK. It has been declared that the summit will be dedicated to the completion of the military operation in Afghanistan, relations of NATO with partners, and enhancing and modernizing NATO military potential.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend the ministerial meeting on December 4, which includes topics that were on the agenda of the relations with Russia for a long time, a high-level NATO official said.
The situation in Syria and the program of destroying Syrian chemical weapons, the state of affairs in Afghanistan amid the approaching withdrawal of NATO's military presence there and the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking are among the topics.
Practical cooperation in a range of areas, initially concerning Afghanistan and fighting international terrorism, has developed successfully between NATO and Russia, the official said. The plans for 2014 are to continue the joint program of servicing the helicopter fleet of the Afghan forces, including the supply of equipment and training personnel by Russian instructors.
Safe utilization of outdated arms in the Kaliningrad region will be a new area of cooperation. NATO has considerable experience and technical progress in this sector.
NATO ministers and Sergei Lavrov will continue discussing the issue of the European missile defense system, which, according to the two parties, a debate on which is currently in a deadlock.
The ministers will review the practical cooperation that took place in 2013, they will set cooperation goals for 2014 and discuss the transparency of NATO-Russia relations.
A separate meeting on Afghanistan will be held on the same day between NATO foreign ministers and their counterparts from countries that are not part of the Alliance. Acting Afghani Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Afghani Interior Minister Umar Daudzai and EU High representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton have been invited to the meeting as well.
NATO plans to start the operation of consulting, supporting and training the Afghani security forces beginning in 2015. The mission will require the presence of NATO military instructors instead of battle units. The final decision on the scale and frame of this operation will be made in early 2014.
The beginning of the mission will depend on the bilateral agreement on support between Washington and Kabul, the high-level NATO official said. For now Afghani President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign this agreement prior to the presidential elections scheduled for April 2014, which complicates NATO's plans.
The series of meetings at the NATO headquarters will be concluded with a ministerial meeting of the NATO-Georgia committee, the main topic of which will be the situation in Georgia following the presidential elections.