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INTERNATIONAL >NATO set to gather in Antalya with Russia and jihadist threat top on the agenda

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NATO’s policy towards Russia over the situation in Ukraine and the threat posed by extremists from the Alliance’s southern border will be main topics of discussion at the next NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, which Turkey will host in the southern province of Antalya between May 13 and 14.

Nearly 60 representatives of states including international organizations and 28 member countries will attend the gathering, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who hails from Antalya, said in a televised interview on May 11. 

Preparations for next year’s summit in Warsaw will be among the topics of the meeting in Antalya, Çavuşoğlu said, expressing Turkey’s expectation for the 2016 gathering to be a “summit of enlargement.” 
Citing to “power shift” in the region, the minister questioned NATO’s role it this time, and what kind of steps the Alliance can take. 

In addition to a session where the foreign ministers of all 28 allies will engage in comprehensive consultations on major issues on NATO’s agenda, a series of other sessions will take place with the participation of the foreign ministries of partner nations

Ukraine is a “valued partner” of NATO, and the Alliance will hold a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at this critical time in Antalya, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on May 11.

“In Eastern Ukraine we see more loss of life, a rise in ceasefire violations, obstruction of the monitors and continued Russian support for the separatists. This is a disturbing trend in the wrong direction … And Russia has a special responsibility for this. So we will also address the strategic implications of a more assertive Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

“We will assess with our international partners the extremism and turmoil on our southern borders,” he added. 

Ministers will also discuss the enduring partnership with Afghanistan. The Resolute Support operation (RS) ministerial meeting will focus on the security situation in Afghanistan, the completion of the RS mission by the end of 2016, and support to Afghanistan after the mission ends, including preparations for supporting Afghan security and defense capacity and the financial sustainment of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces after 2017.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the V4 (Visegrad Group) countries with Turkey is planned on the margins of the ministerial meeting in Antalya. The V4 is an alliance of four central European states - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - for the purposes of furthering their European integration as well as advancing their military, economic and energy cooperation.

Turkey previously hosted meetings of NATO foreign and defense ministers in 1994 and 2010 respectively, and the NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government in 2004.

May/11/2015

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