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What is the NATO Summit about?

Sep 02,2014 - Last updated at Sep 02,2014

His Majesty King Abdullah will be in Wales tomorrow for the NATO Summit.

Why is this meeting important?

The summit will be the largest gathering of world leaders ever hosted in the UK. It brings Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and many other world leaders together at a difficult and sensitive time.

Why is this such a key moment?

Won’t this be just another expensive gathering of VIPs? Won’t it just produce another nice set of undertakings that will then gather dust on a shelf?

Not at all.

The world is facing new and complex threats. Throughout its history, NATO has shown that it remains strong and united by adapting to new threats.

The summit will look at how it must adapt afresh to the new threats emerging from the Middle East.

NATO’s original purpose when it was created in 1949 was to set up a system of collective defence: an attack against one of its 28 members would be considered an attack on them all. The other members will come to that country’s aid.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Cold War created a rivalry between NATO and the Russian-led Warsaw Pact.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, NATO shifted its focus. The alliance responded to the breakup of Yugoslavia with military action in Bosnia and Serbia in the 1990s.

As relations with the former Warsaw Pact improved, countries like Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states joined both NATO and the European Union, seeking military, political and economic support.

NATO is still adapting: it responded to the 2011 terrorist attacks in New York, deployed troops to Afghanistan and enforced the no-fly zone of Libya in 2011.

By being flexible, NATO has become the bedrock of peace and security for 900 million citizens of Europe and North America.

Over the last 65 years, it has become the most successful military alliance in the world.

This summit comes at a crucial stage in NATO’s development.

There are three big issues. First, the military mission in Afghanistan is drawing to a close and NATO members must decide how they will continue to support the Afghan government.

Next, Russia’s actions in destabilising Ukraine and illegally annexing Crimea present a direct challenge to the alliance. The alliance will want to send a clear message to the citizens of its Eastern European members that the central NATO commitment to defend each other if any member is attacked is alive and well.

Third, NATO must discuss how to respond to new challenges from failed states like Syria and terrorism from people like those members of the Islamic State.

This is where His Majesty’s presence and input will be vital.

The growth of extremists and terrorists in Syria and Iraq means that collaboration and coordination between NATO and Jordan will become even more important.

Jordan has had a privileged partnership with NATO since 1994 and is one of only a handful of countries in the region to enjoy such a link. This reflects the important role of Jordan and its contribution to regional security and stability.

That partnership should be reinforced and enhanced by this summit.

NATO will be looking at how to provide practical support to countries in the region to reinforce their stability and security.

As we commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, it is worth highlighting that NATO’s security guarantee has been a crucial element in Europe’s stability and growing prosperity.

Europe can celebrate the success of NATO as a rock solid alliance with strong partnerships with countries like Jordan. 

Together we can continue to protect our citizens from the many new and increasing threats in an unpredictable world. 

The writer is British ambassador to Jordan. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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