Rainer Saks: Poor communication left impression of unsuccessful NATO summit

Rainer Saks.
Rainer Saks. Source: ERR

The mixed and sometimes contradictory messages seen at last week's NATO summit in Vilnius left the impression that things had gone badly, even if this was not wholly the case, according to one expert.

Appearing on ETV show "Ukraina stuudios" Monday, Saks, a former foreign ministry secretary general, said he noted that while Ukraine had expected more from Vilnius, at the same time, it could not right now realistically obtain much more than it already had, meaning a formal NATO invite remained off the table.

Saks said "Everyone grasps, and the leaders of Ukraine themselves have gasped, that they will not receive an explicit invitation to NATO at present, with the war ongoing."

"Everything that happened around [the summit] related more to how something was being expressed. Certainly Ukraine can be satisfied with that; it was clearly understood that the arming and support of Ukraine is to continue in its war against Russia. This was repeated more concretely by the G7 countries the next day," Saks went on.

Nonetheless, a problem in communication remained as regards the summit, Saks said. "Since the wording of conclusions was not agreed upon ahead of the start of the summit, with its formalization taking place on the spot, the messages expressed by the heads of state both before and after the meeting were somewhat chaotic, confused and at times contradictory."

"This gave the impression of a very poorly run summit, or of uncertainty among the allies," adding that there was indeed uncertainty to be detected over the two days, though this was not necessary in the long-run.

"My view would be that it will be hard to later on cast doubt on the idea expressed by the U.S. ​​ and later some other allies that Ukraine will get invited to join NATO, and can join NATO - unless something very drastic changes within Ukrainian internal politics. So I wouldn't be as critical [of the summit] as perhaps I have been in general," Saks added

As for Russia, it has been weakened so much of late that the regime has not been able to diplomatically capitalize on the consequences of the NATO summit as it might have been, Saks said.

"There is no diplomatic initiative or game that it is playing internationally, which could somehow turn the somewhat fragile summit in Vilnius back on itself."

Uncertainty also remains surrounding the vision of how Europe's post-war defense and security architecture should look, noting that of the slew of arms control measures and treaties, Russia has left some, but not others.

Western and especially European leaders seem to have difficulty in grasping that all of this needs to be ripped up and restarted, he added.

Last week's summit, while it saw plenty of expressions of support for Ukraine and concrete proposals for aiding its struggle against invading Russian forces, fell far short of a formal invitation for that country to begin the NATO accession process.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Ukraina stuudios', presenter Epp Ehand.

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