NATO plans 2021 summit with President-elect Biden



Nov. 30 (UPI) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a virtual press conference on Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is invited to a summit conference in 2021.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming President Biden next year to a NATO summit here in Brussels, because that’s the best way for all allies’ heads of state and government to meet, to sit down,” Stoltenberg said.

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The date was not announced but is expected to be in the early part of the new year.

Prior to announcing the invitation, Stoltenberg noted that he and Biden “have known each other for a long time and his background as Vice President [and] as a former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gives him a lot of experience when it comes to security issues in general and NATO in particular.

“I know Joe Biden as a very committed supporter of the cooperation, the bond between North America and Europe and of NATO. I’m looking forward to working with him and also with Kamala Harris, the Vice President-elect, and they have both expressed strong support to NATO,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg spoke ahead of a conference this week of NATO’s 30 members, which is scheduled to concentrate on whether to continue the military bloc’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan.

“We face a difficult dilemma,” he said, “whether to leave and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists, or stay and risk a longer mission with renewed violence.”

The conference is likely the last for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump, a frequent NATO critic.

Trump ordered a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, leaving about 2.500 U.S. troops in the country as NATO continues its mission of training Afghan military forces.

Another conference topic will be the NATO 2030 program, Stoltenberg said, which aims to keep the organization relevant and with a broader global approach.

“We have to make sure that NATO continues to be a strong military alliance.” he said. “That also requires continued investments, also to keep our technological edge, [so] that NATO becomes a stronger political Alliance to address a wide range of security challenges.”



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