SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- NATO foreign ministers have gathered to design a new course forward after a “year of aggression” from Ukraine to the Middle East and the end of its combat mission in Afghanistan.
New NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and ministers from the 28-nation western alliance met on Tuesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Stoltenberg said prior to the meeting that the participants would discuss how to “drive our alliance forward in a changing world.”
According to Stoltenberg, 2014 was “a year of aggression, crisis and conflict.”
The NATO chief said he expected four outcomes from the discussions, including an agreement on an interim NATO quick reaction force that would consist mostly of German and Dutch troops and would be operational by early next year.
In addition, the ministers are expected to sign a deal for deploying a support mission in Afghanistan, which would include some 12,500 troops mostly from US.
The other two anticipated outcomes are a deal on expanding forces in Eastern Europe against Russia and more support for Ukraine, which includes the approval of four trust funds for Ukraine to finance the country’s military modernization.
Russia has repeatedly condemned NATO’s military build-up towards its borders.
Tensions between Russia and the West heightened after Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation following a referendum in March.
Relations were strained further after Ukraine launched military operations in mid-April to silence pro-Russia protests in the country’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine.
The US and the European Union accuse Russia of destabilizing Ukraine and have imposed a series of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects the accusation.