NATO Secretary General hopes Ukraine will join by 2034

NATO Secretary General hopes Ukraine will join by 2034
NATO Secretary General hopes Ukraine will join by 2034

Should Ukraine receive an invitation to join NATO? And if so, when? There is a heated debate within the alliance about this. Secretary General Stoltenberg is now making a statement ahead of a summit meeting.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hopes that Ukraine will join the defense alliance within the next decade. “I very much hope that Ukraine will be an ally,” the Norwegian replied in an interview with the German Press Agency in response to a question about a possible expansion of the alliance in the years up to 2034. He said he had also worked towards this during his time in office at NATO.

Shortly before the NATO summit in Washington, Stoltenberg also called for even more military aid for the country attacked by Russia. “The stronger our support, the faster this war can end. (…) The more we commit ourselves in the long term, the faster the war can end,” he said. “Because now (Russian President Vladimir) Putin believes he can sit us out. We have to convince him that he cannot sit us out, and that can then create the conditions to end the war.”

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Stoltenberg explained that the new aid he expected included, for example, the planned new NATO command to coordinate arms deliveries and training for the Ukrainian armed forces. He also mentioned more funding, more military support and new security agreements.

He added that he agreed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that all these elements could represent a bridge to the NATO membership that Ukraine hopes for.

With his comments on NATO expansion, Stoltenberg is siding with those NATO states shortly before the summit next week that are counting on timely progress in the admission of Ukraine, which was actually agreed in principle in 2008. The issue is controversial within the alliance.

There is therefore no timetable for the admission of Ukraine, nor an official invitation. According to a summit declaration from last year, NATO will only be able to issue the latter “when the allies agree and the conditions are met”. Concrete examples given at the time were “additional required reforms in the areas of democracy and the security sector”.

Chancellor Scholz dampens NATO expectations

In order to make progress in the accession process, a consensus among the 32 alliance members would be necessary. However, this does not currently exist due to countries such as Germany and the USA. When asked about the issue, Chancellor Olaf Scholz made it clear several times that, in his view, the Russian war of aggression must first end. The problem for Ukraine, however, is that this could be an argument for Moscow against starting negotiations. One of Kremlin chief Putin’s declared war aims is to prevent the neighboring state from joining NATO.

This is why recent statements by US President Joe Biden also caused a stir. When asked about a peace solution for the country, Biden replied in an interview with the US magazine “Time”: “Peace means making sure that Russia never, ever, ever, ever occupies Ukraine.” But this does not mean that Ukraine is part of NATO. “It means that we have a relationship with them like we have with other countries, where we supply them with weapons so that they can defend themselves in the future.”

In order to send a positive message from the NATO summit to the people of Ukraine, the alliance is currently discussing describing the country’s accession process as irreversible – that is, unstoppable. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also expected to attend the meeting of the heads of state and government of the NATO states. A meeting of the so-called NATO-Ukraine Council is to be organized with him.

Stoltenberg’s last regular summit

For Stoltenberg, the NATO summit in Washington will be the last regular summit before he leaves the military alliance. He will hand over his office to former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on October 1st after ten years. Stoltenberg told the dpa that his designated successor would be an excellent NATO Secretary General. Rutte had already proven in his previous position as Prime Minister that he could create consensus. He brings with him the necessary experience and knowledge for the new task.

Source: Stern

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