The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started its 26th summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, southeast Wales of Britain on Thursday. This two-day summit is the first one held in Britain since Margaret Thatcher welcomed NATO leaders to London in 1990, when she was Prime Minister.
It goes without saying that the main points on the 28-nation military alliance agenda include not only the ISIS menace, but Ukraine’s delicate position regarding Russia as well, or NATO’s future role in Afghanistan.
“We will not waver in our determination to confront” the militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain wrote in a joint opinion piece published in Thursday’s editions of The Times of London. “If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with U.S. President Barack Obama, Cameron and the leaders of Germany, France and Italy over the crisis in his country before the summit started.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been a wake-up call,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday. “It has … reminded all of us that our freedom, security and prosperity cannot be taken for granted, that some are trying to redraw dividing lines in Europe with force and in blood.”
Alliance leaders will formalize plans for a greater NATO military presence in member countries near Russia and a new force designed in order to strike hard and fast in response to any attack, Rasmussen said. But NATO has also been clear that it will not go to war with Russia to protect non-members, like Ukraine.
Before the summit, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned that Ukraine’s efforts to form an alliance with NATO threatened to short-circuit talks to end the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine. Any discussions between top Ukrainian officials and NATO leaders are “a blatant attempt to derail all the efforts” to reach a negotiated settlement in Ukraine.
As far as ISIS is concerned and their taking two American journalists’ lives and threatening a third, this time a British, Prime Minister David Cameron said that leaders meeting in Newport would be discussing the “poisonous ideology” of Islamist extremism and how to combat it. Cameron declined to rule in or out the possibility of the UK military carrying out airstrikes against ISIS forces, as U.S. forces have done in Iraq. Nevertheless he believes that justice will be made eventually.
“We share our information with our key allies and (are) making sure we do everything we can to bring these absolutely horrific people to justice,” Cameron said.