Brussels, July 11 (BNA): NATO member states have agreed to further strengthen the alliance’s defence and deterrence, step up its role in the fight against terrorism and share the burden of security more fairly.
“The decisions we have made today show that Europe and North America are working together,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “NATO is delivering and we are determined to keep our almost one billion citizens safe and secure,” he said in remarks on the first day of the two-day summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The 29 state leaders took a series of measures to continue NATO’s adaptation to a more demanding security environment, including a new readiness initiative which will see a series of 30s - 30 mechanised battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels ready for use within 30 days.
The member states also enhanced NATO’s command structure with new commands for the Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, and for support and logistics in Ulm, Germany.
A new Cyber Operations Centre will also be created at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium.
The NATO leaders decided to launch a new NATO training mission in Iraq, with several hundred trainers, and to increase support for Jordan and Tunisia. These initiatives will help them counter terrorism and maintain stability.
The Secretary General announced that NATO’s Hub for the South is now fully operational. The facility in Naples, Italy, will help the alliance monitor and respond more effectively to challenges in the Southern region.
Stoltenberg also said that, based on the national plans of European Allies and Canada, it is expected that an extra $266 billion would be spent on defence between now and 2024.
“So we have turned the tide but we need to do more. This is about fairness, this is about our credibility and, above all, this is about our security in a more unpredictable world,” he said.