London, 10 October 2019 - Tense ties with Russia, the unravelling of the Iran nuclear deal, and NATO’s future in strife-torn Afghanistan top the agenda as legislators from member countries of the Alliance gather this week in the United Kingdom for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Annual Session.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British government ministers, top military officers, and a host of experts are expected to join hundreds of delegates for the October 11-14 meeting in London to reaffirm NATO's core values as the world’s most powerful defence alliance celebrates 70 years since its founding.
“As NATO marks its 70th anniversary, this session will be a key moment to celebrate the work of this vitally important institution, the bedrock of our security,” said NATO PA President Madeleine Moon.
The parliamentarians are set to adopt a series of draft reports and resolutions on key security issues ranging from developments in Ukraine five years after the pro-European Maidan demonstration, to border controls, sanctions policy, terrorism in Africa, and climate change.
Over four days of debate hosted in Westminster during what is a politically historic year for the United Kingdom, the parliamentarians will examine ways to respond to Russia’s decision to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty - a pillar of European security - and how to move forward with arms control in the post-INF era.
The state of peace moves in Ukraine amid continued ceasefire violations by Russia and its proxies will come under the microscope, as the lawmakers debate ways to crank up pressure on Moscow to halt its aggression, while leaving the door open for dialogue. Relations with Ukraine’s new leadership will also be assessed.
Bill Browder, head of Hermitage Capital Management and a driving force behind the US Magnitsky Act which sanctions Russian human rights violators, will join deliberations on the impact of international sanctions. Later, members are expected to adopt a draft resolution underlining the vital importance of close transatlantic cooperation to ensure the effectiveness of such measures, for example on Russia and Iran.
Tehran's decision to renege on commitments under the international agreement limiting its nuclear ambitions will also be on the agenda in London, amid differences among Allies over how to manage relations with Iran, particularly as it ramps up tension with Saudi Arabia.
Just days after presidential elections in Afghanistan, and amid deep uncertainty over peace moves with the Taliban, the parliamentarians are set to vote through a resolution urging support for Allied forces and partners, 16 years after NATO took the lead in security efforts there.
Maritime security comes under scrutiny in discussions on anti-submarine warfare, threats in the North Atlantic and naval research and experimentation, with senior members of Allied Maritime Command in Northwood, United Kingdom, leading parts of the debate.
The NATO PA assembles members of national parliaments from the 29 Allies as well as partner countries, observers, and international organisations. It is an essential forum for exchanging views on security issues between the Alliance and member parliaments, making it an important link to citizens in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Photos of the session are public and can be found on NATO PA Flickr account.
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