Russia to be main focus of NATO foreign ministers meeting

The Nation  |  Nov 29, 2021

NATO foreign ministers are scheduled to meet this week to discuss a range of issues, including the Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border.

The meeting, chaired by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, will take place in Latvia's capital Riga on Nov. 30 - Dec. 1.

The meeting is expected to focus on Russia following the recent military build-up of Moscow near the Ukrainian border.

NATO officials openly state that the Russian military activities in Crimea, which was illegally annexed in 2014, and around the Ukrainian border raise serious questions.

At a press briefing held last week, Stoltenberg said: "Russia must show transparency, reduce tensions and de-escalate.”

Referring to the upcoming meeting, he said the ministers will also talk about the migration crisis on the border with Belarus, which he called “a cynical exploitation of vulnerable people to put pressure on our allies Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.”

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The NATO ministers will also examine the security situation in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Georgia, as well as NATO's role in promoting stability and security in the Western Balkans region amid rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo and the separatist ambitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Serb entity, the Republika Srpska.

NATO’s next Strategic Concept and the alliance’s contribution to international arms control will also be addressed.

Some sessions of the meeting will also be attended by foreign ministers of Sweden, Finland, Georgia and Ukraine, which are non-NATO states.

Turkey will be represented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts in the sidelines of the meeting.

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists since 2014 in Donbas has seen more than 13,000 people killed -- a quarter of them civilians -- and as many as 30,000 wounded, according to the UN.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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