BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – European Union leaders pledged
on Friday to plug the gaps in Europe’s military capabilities and
strengthen its arms industry as austerity budgets threaten to
damage both the continent’s military capabilities and its
The leaders also pledged at a Brussels summit to try to
boost the EU’s role in tackling international crises now that
the U.S. military focus is shifting to Asia, creating demand for
a bigger EU security presence in Africa and the Mediterranean.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia accused NATO on Friday of moving towards involvement in the Syrian conflict, three days after the alliance decided to station Patriot missiles to protect Turkey from spillover from the violence.
The charge came from Russia’s new ambassador to NATO, and came in spite of NATO assurances that the Patriots, which will be placed near Turkey’s border with Syria, are intended purely for defensive purposes.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday it was crucial that NATO allies stick to their commitments to fund Afghanistan’s security forces after Western forces end their combat role in the country in 2014.
Afghanistan’s foreign backers have pledged $4.1 billion per year to fund Afghan security forces after 2014, but there are concerns that European countries hit by austerity cutbacks may not be able to meet their commitments.
BRUSSELS/BEIRUT, Dec 4 (Reuters) – NATO told Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday that any use of chemical
weapons in his fight against encroaching rebel forces would be
met by an immediate international response.
The warning from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh
Rasmussen came as U.S. government sources said Washington had
information that Syria was making what could be seen as
preparations to use its chemical arsenal.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO foreign ministers will agree on Tuesday to send Patriot missiles to beef up Turkey’s air defenses and calm Turkey’s fears that it could come under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria, diplomats said.
Turkey last month asked NATO for Patriots, which can be used to intercept missiles and planes, after weeks of talks with allies about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, which is immersed in civil war.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO foreign ministers, meeting for the first time this week since Russia appointed a new ambassador to the military alliance, are hoping to improve ties with Moscow despite a fresh row over plans to send anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey.
A NATO spokeswoman said the meeting aimed to “re-energize” relations with Russia – whose cooperation is needed both on ending the conflict in Syria and smoothing the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO countries assured Russia on Wednesday that the planned deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey was a defensive measure as the alliance and Moscow resumed ambassador-level meetings after a gap of nearly a year.
Envoys from the 28 alliance members held their first meeting with Alexander Grushko, a former deputy foreign minister who President Vladimir Putin appointed last month as Russia’s ambassador to NATO.
LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused “hard-right” U.S. politicians on Tuesday of pressing European credit card firms to block more than $50 million of donations to the website that published thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.
Assange, speaking to reporters at the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he took refuge in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, said the credit card companies’ action had forced WikiLeaks to reduce the volume of documents it posted online.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ten European countries agreed on Monday to work together to boost their military air-to-air refueling capacity, to plug a gap in their defenses that was exposed by last year’s Libyan war.
Europe’s air forces have had a shortage of tanker aircraft for years. During the Libya campaign, European states relied heavily on the United States for air-to-air refueling, needed to enable fighter planes to stay in the air for longer.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European states will take a step towards plugging a gap in their defenses on Monday by agreeing to work together to boost their air-to-air refueling capacity, a major European shortcoming in last year’s Libyan war.
A group of European Union countries will sign a “letter of intent” at an EU defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels to work together to expand their aerial refueling abilities from 2020, EU officials said.