The State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ildefonso Castro, took part on Friday, 31 March, in the meeting of NATO foreign affairs ministers held in Brussels. The meeting was used by the NATO ministers to prepare the Special Meeting of Heads of State and Government to take place on 25 May; they also held a working lunch that focused on NATO’s relations with Russia, and finally, they held a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which included the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
As regards the preparation for the summit in May, the ministers reviewed the main challenges NATO is facing at present. One of them is the distribution of responsibilities. On this point, the State secretary recalled that Spain remains committed to the agreement reached by all of the members at the Wales Summit in 2014 (2% of GDP to be spent on defence by 2024, allocating 20% of this 2% to purchasing hardware and to R&D), while taking into account the singular nature and individual capabilities of each country, as well as other concepts, not so easily quantifiable, regarding contributions to the capabilities of NATO and to international peace and security, such as participation on international missions. Ildefonso Castro also underlined that here it will be essential to boost the process already under way to strengthen the military capabilities of the EU, which will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to the distribution of responsibilities.
The NATO ministers also tackled the role of NATO in projecting stability beyond its borders. In this regard, the State secretary recalled the importance that our country should assign to developing the initiative entitled “projecting stability”, in particular in relation to the southern flank of NATO. One specific aspect of this projection of stability is the fight against terrorism. The ministers analysed ways for NATO to continue contributing to the efforts to defeat DAESH and the global threat of terrorism.
As regards relations between NATO and Russia, Spain is in favour of developing the dual-track approach agreed in Warsaw, continuing down the path of dissuasion and defence, whilst also developing constructive dialogue with Russia, to avoid possible escalations of tension and enhance transparency.
Lastly, the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission served for NATO to show its support to one of its partners. In this regard, Spain supports the diplomatic efforts it has been making to comply with the Minsk Accords.
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