B9 Summit Declaration underscores importance of NATO's forward presence from Baltic Sea to Black Sea

AGERPRES special correspondent to Kosice, Slovakia, Florentina Peia reports: The presidents of Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia adopted on Thursday at the plenary session of the B9 Summit a declaration which underscores the importance of the forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and the concern for the situation in Ukraine. Today, we are better prepared to face the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to the Alliance's adaptation. In the spirit of an allied alliance, of solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underscore the importance of a forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives meant to strengthen our ability to defend our citizens and territories, as part of the collective allied effort to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence. We also support the enforcement of strategic, focused and coherent approaches of NATO toward the South. We recognise the participation in NATO's relevant actions, including the mission in Afghanistan, as part of the peace and reconciliation efforts, the declaration reads. The declaration adopted at the end of the B9 Summit includes 11 points. We are confronted with the most difficult security challenges. (...) The Alliance should be ready to further respond to all threats and challenges wherever they might appear. Therefore, we have all the reasons to made the Alliance strong and make sure that the transatlantic tie remains as solid and effective as ever. We are determined to accomplish this objective, the declaration reads, highlighting the commitment to spending 2 percent of the GDP on Defence. Moreover, in the document, the consolidated military presence of the US and Canada in Europe is endorsed, especially on the Eastern flank of NATO. The threats and challenges are complex, many times unpredictable and they come from all directions. No country can manage them entirely alone, reads the declaration adopted at the B9 Summit meeting. The nine European leaders underscored the concern regarding the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the recent tensions in Azov and the Black Sea. This is another manifestation of Russia non-observing the international law, its model of confrontational behavior and the use of military and non-military actions, such as the construction of the Kerci Strait bridge to advance its geopolitical goals. All these require a more coherent and strategic approach from the Alliance. We are also deeply concerned with the serious violation of the INF Treaty by Russia, the document mentions. They reiterate the support granted to NATO's approach against Russia, based on a strong deterrence and defence, as well as on an opening of dialogue. They ensure the support for the NATO's Open Door Policy, the commitment for the security and stability of Western Balkans, they reiterate the support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. We are determined to strengthen the strategic partnership and the NATO-EU cooperation, the declaration shows. Finally, the nine presidents show that they are looking forward to the meeting of NATO leaders to be held in December in London. It will allow us to analyse the enforcement of the decisions made in Wales, Warsaw and Brussels, and advance the Alliance's adaptation, in view of tackling the threats and challenges we are confronted with. We are still committed to continue the meeting in the Bucharest 9 format, as a way to mutually consult, to promote common approaches and contribute to the Euro-Atlantic security, the declaration shows. AGERPRES (RO - editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Rodica State, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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