ERR in Wales: Baltics Likely to Achieve NATO Goals ({{commentsTotal}})

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While day one of the NATO summit discussed largely non-Baltic topics, ERR's Johannes Tralla, reporting from Newport, Wales, says the Baltics are likely to come home tomorrow having achieved what they set out to accomplish.

"According to the information on the sidelines, the goals of Estonia, the other Baltics and Poland will be met," he told ETV. "If there are no last minute changes, the allied presence will not only be guaranteed at the current level but it will become permanent. Stocks [of weapons and equipment] will also be prepositioned, but specialists will discuss the bases at which this will happen and to what extent. The creation of the NATO rapid response force is also expected."

The correspondent said that three topics were discussed on day one Thursday - the resurgence of Islamic extremism in the form of ISIS being the first.

Afghanistan was the second, as indeed the country had been the reason the summit was called in the first place. "As it's not clear yet who will lead Afghanistan, NATO could only express support and say that the mission would continue when the signature is on the documents," he said.

The last point on the program was a meeting between NATO and the Ukraine committee. That was supposed to give an indication of whether any country was prepared to support the Ukrainian military.

"Currently those chances are small, word has it, and it is nearly ruled out that it would happen under the aegis of NATO," said Tralla.

Tomorrow Baltic-Nordic regional deterrence and strengthening of defence will be discussed.

Estonia Out in Force at Summit

The much awaited NATO Summit, set to decide on new security measures, began in Newport, Wales, on September 4, with the Estonian prime minister, foreign and defense ministers and commander in chief of the armed forces in attendance.

Estonia will hope for explicit security measures which would include more troops on the ground in the Baltic nations and Poland - many top Estonian leaders have called for nothing short of permanent bases - and debate over the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, which Estonia is hoping will be waived.

Germany has been against tearing up the protocol, which is legally complicated but could loosely be translated as a ban on NATO bases on territories of new member states. It does not rule out rotation of troops, such as the air policing missions taking place in Estonia and Lithuania.

According to reports before day one as well, the Baltics would get pre-positioned stocks of weapons, which means NATO armaments, not permanent troops, would be stationed on Estonian soil allowing a quicker reaction to any possible crisis.

US President Barack Obama arrived from his trip to Estonia at an RAF air base, and then flew by helicopter to the summit location.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is also in Wales, along with the heads of nearly 60 states. Poroshenko is meeting with world leaders in the morning before the conference fully gets underway. However, the focus will be on the meeting of the heads of state of the 28 NATO members on Friday.

Britain has released a policy paper for the summit, saying the priorities are 1) the crisis in Ukraine and the relationship with Russia, 2) Afghanistan’s future, 3) Tackling new threats, 4) Strengthening support for the armed forces, 5) strengthening partnerships.

The event is the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in the country.


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