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Washington DC venue for next week's NATO summit amid numerous challenges

Report by Rola Riachi WASHINGTON, July 8 (KUNA) -- While celebrating its 75th anniversary, NATO would be holding its summit in Washington DC amid growing international challenges including the war in the Ukraine as well as the rise of US Republican Presidential nominee/former President Donald Trump known his hardline attitude towards the organization.
According to the State Department, the NATO Summit in Washington will mark 75 years of historic achievements, demonstrate the strength and unity of our transatlantic bond, advance the implementation of the most robust deterrence and defense plans since the end of the Cold War, and showcase NATO's vital role in defending our future for generations to come.
The statement added that the United States was proud to host the next NATO Summit, July 9-11, 2024, where we would celebrate the 75th anniversary of the most successful and enduring alliance in history and set the course for the Alliance's evolution to meet future challenges.
At the Summit, thirty-two Allies would tackle an important agenda that includes affirming unwavering support for Ukraine, strengthening deterrence and defense posture, collaborating with industry on increasing production and growing our industrial base, enhancing the Alliance's partnerships, and ensuring Allies meet their commitments to invest in their own defense, as well as our collective defense, revealed the State Department.
The allies will be joined by Ukraine for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, as we advance the Alliance's strong support for Ukraine and our close collaboration to help build a bridge to Ukraine's future membership.
"We will also welcome the European Union and our Indo-Pacific partners -- Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand -- to the Summit as we deepen our practical cooperation and strengthen our vision of peace, security, and prosperity in these two deeply interconnected regions." Meanwhile, NATO said that the United States would host the summit in Washington DC on July 9-10-11 2024, which would be chaired by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In its June report on the summit, the Financial Times indicated that tensions over positions on Gaza war set to be on show at Washington gathering.
Also the war on the Ukraine would also feature during the summit.
Arab invitees to the summit include Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The CNN also chipped in and said that when dozens of world leaders convene in Washington, DC, for the NATO 75th anniversary summit next week, "they won't only be looking to underscore the unity of the alliance -- they will also be carefully watching US President Joe Biden after his poor debate performance last week." "Biden's showing at the CNN presidential debate was met with shock and concern by diplomats around the world. Now, the President will be under immense pressure to perform well at the high-stakes gathering and show that he is still a viable competitor to former President Donald Trump," multiple diplomats told CNN.
The concern is compounded because many believe Trump poses a threat to the future of NATO.
He (Trump) publicly railed against the alliance during his first term in office and did so again recently on the campaign trail, even going as far as suggesting Russia "do whatever the hell they want" to members who don't meet defense spending targets.
At a Conversation on US Foreign Policy in the Brookings Institution on July 1, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the summit, which features the participation of new NATO members Sweden and Poland, would try "to drive private sector investment into Ukraine to make sure that its economy can grow and thrive." "Now, of course, for both its military capacity and its economic capacity, you've got to make sure that you have air defenses in place to try to protect the areas in which you're making investments. We're driving that. I think you'll see more news on that in the coming weeks as we get to the NATO summit actually next week." Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien, during a teleconference event, refuted NATO's attempts to extend an invitation for Ukraine to join the organization.
"We think there will be a substantial show of support for Ukraine as it works to win its war," he added.
"This will include ongoing NATO support in building Ukraine's future force and efforts to help Ukraine as it makes the reforms needed so that it's able to join the EU and run across the bridge to NATO as quickly as it's able." The three-day summit is highly choreographed, and typically little is left to chance.
It is preceded by months and months of prep work, discussion and negotiations among the 32 member countries.
During the summit, there will be numerous opportunities for counterparts to interact with Biden -- the North Atlantic Council meeting, formal bilateral meetings, a leader's dinner.
The president will be supported and accompanied to key meetings by Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other key national security officials.
Officials such as Blinken and Austin may have one-on-one meetings with their counterparts as well.
Foreign Ministers of NATO allies will not be partaking in the Summit, but will be allowed to attend sideline functions.
They will be able to meet with Secretaries Blinken and Austin. (end) rsr.gta