Leaders of NATO countries and allies have gathered in Madrid recently, with the main topics of discussion likely to be Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's growing international ambitions.
Key issues to be dealt at the summit:
Approval of a new Strategic Concept of alliance:
During the summit, NATO officials will approve of the alliance’s new ‘Strategic Concept’, a key document that “outlines NATO’s enduring purpose and nature, its fundamental security tasks, and the challenges and opportunities it faces in a changing security environment”.
The document also “specifies the elements of the Alliance’s approach to security and provides guidelines for its political and military adaptation”.
The last strategic concept, released in 2010, stated that “we want to see a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia”.
The new strategic concept is in sharp contrast, identifying Russia as “the most immediate threat to our security”.
Expansion of NATO:
Another key issue will be Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO.
The historically neutral Nordic countries had first applied to join the alliance in May, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, and the country with the second largest military force in the alliance, has repeatedly opposed the entry of Finland and Sweden.
Turkey has accused the two countries of supporting Kurdish militant groups, which it deems to be terrorist organisations.
Influence of China:
NATO’s new security concept will for the first time deal with the growing influence of China.
With Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand invited to the summit for the first time, discussions are expected to be held on NATO’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region, where China is aggressively pushing to expand its footprint.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):
NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance of 30 different countries from Europe, North American and Asia.
It was established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, which sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
The heart of NATO is expressed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, in which the signatory members agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and collective action must be taken to assist party or parties so attacked.
Headquarter: The NATO headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium.
While the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
Original members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Unites States.
Member countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, UK and USA.
North Macedonia is the latest entry in the organization.