Jens Stoltenberg, generalsekretær i NATO på pressemødet om mødet den 3. og 4. december. Foto: NATO.

Today, the heads of state and governments in NATO met for a meeting discussing the alliance’s strategy for the coming years.

Strengthening NATO was on the agenda of today’s meeting of the heads of state and government in NATO. Ukraine was mentioned at the later press conference, but not as much as Kyiv might have wanted. Actually, at the press meeting, Ukraine was only mentioned twice by Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg:

“We stand in solidarity with our valued partners Ukraine and Georgia. And we will continue to support their reforms, bringing them closer to NATO,” said Stoltenberg later adding: “… we will substantially step up training and capacity-building for partners. From Ukraine and Georgia to Iraq and Jordan.”

However, Stoltenberg also directly mentioned Russia as an aggressor threatening the interests and values of the West, particularly with the upcoming Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva on Wednesday:

“Allies welcomed today’s consultations with President Biden, ahead of his meeting with President Putin in Geneva. Our relationship with Russia is at its lowest point since the Cold War. And Moscow’s aggressive actions are a threat to our security,” said Stoltenberg: “NATO remains committed to our dual track approach of defence and dialogue. We will keep our defences strong, while remaining ready to talk. To make our positions clear, avoid misunderstanding. And prevent escalation.”

Lengthy communique gives hope

A communique with 79 points was later released, summing up the actual content of the meeting. In this, they reaffirm Ukraine in it’s road to membership, though a date for joining have not yet been made official. I addition to that, it remains to be seen whether or not they will allow Ukraine into the club before the war in Eastern Ukraine is resolved at the very least.

“We reiterate the decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance with the Membership Action Plan (MAP) as an integral part of the process; we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions, including that each partner will be judged on its own merits.  We stand firm in our support for Ukraine’s right to decide its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference,” NATO writes.

They also write – and this can be read as a statement or a requirement – the following:

“The success of wide-ranging, sustainable, and irreversible reforms, including combating corruption, promoting an inclusive political process, and decentralisation reform, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities, and the rule of law, will be crucial in laying the groundwork for a prosperous and peaceful Ukraine.  Further reforms in the security sector, including the reform of the Security Services of Ukraine, are particularly important.  We welcome significant reforms already made by Ukraine and strongly encourage further progress in line with Ukraine’s international obligations and commitments:”

Ukrainian joy

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is all in all reasonably happy with the outcome of the summit, though he wished for a more concrete timeline for the membership process than provided. .

“We are grateful to NATO members for such a logical decision, which fully confirmed the decision of the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit,” said President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

“At the same time, the decision of this year’s summit lacks specific time limits for the next steps in our rapprochement with NATO, which we hoped for,” the President said: “We will continue the course of security and defense reforms in order to further meet the standards of interoperability with NATO member states,” said Volodymyr Zelensky