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The US is committed to “rebuilding” NATO and deciding “together” the presence in Afghanistan

The United States has shown its commitment to NATO on Tuesday and has indicated that the allies will decide “together” the future of the mission in Afghanistan, after the Donald Trump administration set the next May 1 as the date to leave the country. a term that is included in the Doha agreement with the Taliban.

This has been stated by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, before his first ministerial meeting within the military organization, which coincides with the first face-to-face meeting between allies since the coronavirus crisis broke out.

“I am here to express the firm commitment of the United States to the alliance, which has been the cornerstone for peace, stability and security for the transatlantic community. And I have come because the United States wants to rebuild the relationship with the allies,” he said. Blinken at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg upon his arrival at headquarters in Brussels.

In this sense, the US secretary has stressed that Washington’s idea is to “revitalize” the Atlantic Alliance and ensure that it continues to meet the objectives with which the organization was founded 70 years ago.

The first in-person meeting of the allied ministers is presented as a turning point for NATO to leave behind the doubts generated during Trump’s time in the White House and give new impetus to the relationship between Europe and North America.

Stoltenberg himself has called for seizing the “unique opportunity” to relaunch the organization and has set the leaders’ summit to take place later this year as the time to launch a renewed agenda for the Alliance, which includes responding to the assertiveness of Russia, the rise of China and face challenges such as cyber threats and climate change.

Regarding the issues that the Atlantic Council will have on the table this Tuesday and Wednesday, there is the 2030 agenda to renew NATO in the face of the leaders’ summit, but also more immediate issues such as the future of the mission in Afghanistan, in the that Stoltenberg wants to synchronize the steps of NATO with those of the United States.

“We are here to share part of our initial analysis, but perhaps more important to listen and maintain consultations. Because that is what the allies do,” said Blinken, when asked about leaving Afghanistan, scheduled for May. Currently Washington, which finds it difficult to meet that deadline, is evaluating the situation on the ground before ordering the withdrawal, while NATO, which wanted to make a decision as early as February, has postponed the matter pending what the new administration does. U.S.

In any case, Blinken has reiterated that the key to the mission is that any decision is made jointly between the 30 allies. “We went together, we have adjusted the presence together, and when the time comes, we will go together,” stressed the Secretary of State, who reiterated that Washington’s decision will be influenced by the position of the allies.

In this sense, he stressed that in NATO everyone wants to end the conflict in Afghanistan and leave the country in an orderly manner, but at the same time preserve security and stability on the ground to prevent the country from becoming a “sanctuary” of terrorism. “The consultation will be done as an Alliance and that will mark the process and our decisions,” Blinken pointed out.

For his part, Stoltenberg has shown that the meeting will serve for the 30 members “as an Alliance” to discuss an issue as “important and difficult” as the presence in Afghanistan. The Norwegian politician has pointed out that the peace process in Afghanistan is “fragile”, but it is the “only way out” of the two-decade crisis, which is why he has asked the Taliban to “negotiate in good faith, involve all actors in the region, reduce violence and cut ties with terrorist organizations. “

Asked if he will be able to discuss the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Blinken has assured that he is willing to meet with Maas and has advanced that he will reiterate that the project is a “bad idea” for both Europe and the United States. and “contradicts Europe’s energy security goals.”

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