NATO Foreign Ministers will meet via secure video conference on Tuesday and Wednesday (1-2 December 2020) to discuss key issues for the Alliance. They include NATO’s continued adaptation, Russia’s military build-up, the rise of China, and NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.
Ahead of the meeting, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Afghanistan had come a long way since NATO forces went into the country after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. He underlined NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan’s security and to the peace process: “In the months ahead, we will continue to assess our presence based on conditions on the ground. We face a difficult dilemma. Whether to leave, and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. Or stay, and risk a longer mission, with renewed violence. Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a coordinated and deliberate way.”
Ministers will also address Russia’s military build-up around the Alliance, from the High North to Syria and Libya. In a separate session, they will be joined by Georgia and Ukraine to discuss the security situation in the Black Sea region and the Alliance’s ongoing support for both partners.
NATO Foreign Ministers will also assess the global shift in the balance of power with the rise of China. They will joined by Asia-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea and also by Finland, Sweden, and the European Union High Representative. The Secretary General said: “China is not our adversary. Its rise presents an important opportunity for our economies and trade. We need to engage with China on issues such as arms control and climate change. But there are also important challenges to our security. China is investing massively in new weapons. It is coming closer to us, from the Arctic to Africa and by investing in our infrastructure. China does not share our values. It does not respect fundamental human rights and tries to intimidate other countries. We must address this together, both as NATO Allies, and as a community of like-minded countries.”
Ministers will also discuss NATO’s continued adaptation through the NATO 2030 initiative, including a report by an expert group appointed by the Secretary General. The Secretary General will continue his consultations with Allies, civil society, young leaders, parliamentarians and the private sector before putting forward his recommendations to NATO Leaders next year.