During the two-day meeting held in Brussels, NATO defense ministers have not been able to reach agreement on the plans indicating the modus operandi to follow in case Russia attacks an allied country. This is a series of military plans that will detail, for the first time since the Cold War, the Alliance’s response to Russian aggression.
The measure is, to say the least, exceptional, since NATO had not seen the need to elaborate large scale defense plans during decades. The wars fought so far were more regional, like the one in Afghanistan or Iraq. However, Russia’s war in Ukraine has pushed the allies to make the necessary preparations to be ready in case another conflict breaks out on European soil.
The secretary general of the organization, Jens Stoltenberghas indicated during the press conference after the meeting that the plans have already been reviewed and that the agreement is getting closer, according to the agency Reuters. The big challenge will be to find a solution before the NATO summit to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, in mid-July.
Despite the optimism, a diplomat assured the agency Reuters on condition of anonymity that it was Turkey that had blocked the decision on the wording of the geographical locations, including with regard to Cyprus.
Those known as “regional plans” are actually thousands of pages of secret military plans. These also include guidance for nations on how to improve their forces and logistics. “While the regional plans were not formally endorsed today, we anticipate that these plans will be part of a series of outcomes for the Vilnius Summit in July,” a senior US official told Reuters.
Another year of Stoltenberg?
Stoltenberg has been head of NATO for nine years after renew mandate up to three times recently, he assured that he would leave on September 30 of this year the position in an alliance that has become increasingly important since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
However, in the opening speech at the summit of defense ministers, the former Prime Minister of Norway He left the door open to extend his mandate, since senior officials from the alliance’s member countries openly supported the idea, including one of his possible successors, according to Reuters.
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At the moment, NATO is having trouble finding a successor that can get the necessary consensus of the 31 memberswhich extend from the United States to Türkiye, passing through Europe.
In this sense, when Stoltenberg was asked if he had been persuaded to stay during a visit to Washington this week, he said he is “responsible for all the decisions this alliance must make, except one. The one about my future. That is in the hands of the 31 allies”.