After 1 year, NATO foreign ministers to meet in Brussels: For the first time in more than a year, foreign ministers from the 30 nations that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will meet in person at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
The meeting which will conclude on Wednesday will enable the ministers to discuss a set of proposals to reform the military bloc as part of their preparations for the upcoming summit.
Antony Blinken, the new US Secretary of State, was scheduled to attend his first NATO ministerial meeting as part of a European trip that could help repair trans-Atlantic relations that had deteriorated under the previous administration.
The last time NATO foreign ministers met face-to-face was in November 2019, due to COVID-19 containment measures.
The allies were to meet to discuss the future of their Afghan mission, but no decision was expected.
All eyes are on Washington as President Joe Biden decides whether to leave the war-torn country within weeks, as agreed to in a deal with the radical Islamist Taliban, or stay put.
At a press conference ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “All options are on the table, and no final decision has been made.”
He went on to say that they strongly support efforts to infuse fresh energy into the peace process.
Approximately 10,000 NATO allies or partner-country troops are currently training Afghan security forces.
This is down from a high of 100,000 in the early days of the Afghan mission when it was still a military mission.
High levels of violence, on the other hand, may make withdrawal impossible without further destabilizing the nation and jeopardizing strategic gains made during NATO’s two-decade intervention.