NATO foreign ministers to discuss Ukraine and Kosovo

The situation in Ukraine and the aggravation of the situation in the unrecognized Kosovo will be the main topics of the two-day meeting of the heads of foreign affairs agencies of NATO countries, which will open on Wednesday in Oslo. The meeting is informal, so the rest of its program has not been officially announced, however, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels and European media, the participants will also discuss preparations for the alliance’s summit in Vilnius in July and issues of increasing military spending.

As the European edition of the newspaper Politico reported on Tuesday, the meeting, in particular, will discuss what can be promised to Ukraine at the summit in Vilnius instead of joining the alliance, which is impossible in the context of the ongoing military conflict.

The newspaper emphasizes that Kyiv can no longer be satisfied with the formula adopted at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 that “Ukraine and Georgia will eventually join NATO when they meet all the criteria.” The Ukrainian authorities need a more visible symbol of progress towards the alliance. One of the options, according to the publication, could be the creation of a Ukraine-NATO council, which should become a more advanced form of cooperation than the current NATO-Ukraine commission.

At the same time, several Western European countries are convinced that a serious discussion about membership should wait until the end of the military conflict, which does not prevent closer cooperation between NATO and Ukraine, Politico points out.

During the meeting, they will also discuss the provision of further NATO military assistance to Ukraine. Since the end of February 2022, not a single meeting of the alliance has been held without discussing this topic.

NATO Secretary General and ex-Prime Minister of Norway, who arrived in Oslo the day before the meeting Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday at a press conference that the alliance considers the escalation in Kosovo and “attacks on the NATO military” unacceptable. He did not comment on media reports from the region that representatives of the alliance contingent attacked Serbs who were holding peaceful protests. He also did not mention that more than 50 Kosovo Serbs were injured in the clashes, reporting only 30 wounded soldiers of the alliance.

At the same time, Stoltenberg promised that NATO forces in Kosovo “will take all necessary actions to ensure the security of the entire population of the region.” According to him, “NATO will send an additional 700 troops to Kosovo from the operational reserve,” and will also “upgrade the readiness level of another battalion so that it can be sent there if necessary.”

Sweden was also invited to the meeting of the heads of foreign affairs agencies, whose entry into the alliance continues to be blocked by Turkey. Stoltenberg said that this country is already practically a member of NATO and that “in the event of aggression against it, NATO will not remain indifferent.” At the same time, Stockholm has not yet made any progress in joining the alliance.

In this regard, Stoltenberg promised in Oslo to make every effort to ensure that Sweden could become a full member of the alliance by the summit in Vilnius.

According to the press service of NATO, for this purpose, he held on Tuesday the first telephone conversation after the elections with the newly elected president of Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogancongratulated him on his election and stressed the importance of resolving the issue of Sweden’s entry into NATO as soon as possible.

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