Stepping Stone To NATO Summit

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NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels on June 24-25 for the last time before the September 4-5 Wales summit. NATO and U.S. officials described the ministerial as a "stepping stone" to the summit.

On the fringes of the ministerial on June 25, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and British Foreign Secretary William Hague unveiled the summit logo, in the presence of David Jones, the British Secretary of State for Wales, and allied foreign ministers.

During their meeting, ministers approved plans to develop an Alliance Readiness Action Plan for the summit, as well as the creation of new trust funds to support Ukraine's defense capacity building in the areas of logistics, command, control and communications, cyber defense, and to help retired military personnel adapt to civilian life.

Ministers also discussed how to support partners and non-partners like Libya in capacity building, ranging from training front-line troops to establishing civilian control of defense ministries. Rasmussen told the ministerial's first press conference on June 25, "This is an investment not just in responding to current challenges, but tackling future ones and it can help us project stability without always deploying large forces."

Ministers also agreed to develop a package of measures to increase interoperability with partner countries such as Sweden and Finland. These countries are already the most interoperable NATO partners and Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has even said that both countries should consider NATO membership.

Ministers agreed to create a rapidly deployable pool of military and civilian experts to improve NATO's ability to work with other international organizations.

Finally, ministers endorsed the operational plan for the Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat mission ends at the end of 2014.

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