NATO Defence Ministers convene in Brussels

16 July 2019

Two days of meetings between NATO defence ministers have been held in the Belgian capital Brussels. The talks, spanning the 26 and 27 June 2019, covered topics including space policy, Afghanistan, Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty and the NATO Readiness Initiative.

On the latter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented that “there is still work to do, but by the end of the year, we aim to be at full strength,” referring to the Four Thirties plan which aims to have 30 combat ships, 30 land battalions and 30 air squadrons ready for action in 30 days. Gen. Stoltenberg said that 75% of the force has already been generated.

Discussion of Russia saw the ministers contemplating the end of the INF Treaty, although the chance for Russia to save it remains. “We will not mirror what Russia does,” Stoltenberg said. “We do not want a new arms race, but at the same time we must continue to maintain credible deterrence and defence.”

A new space policy was agreed: “We can play an important role as a forum to share information, increase interoperability, and ensure that our missions and operations can call on the support they need,” Stoltenberg said.

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