NATO to hold summit in bid to repair U.S. ties amid Russia tensions

Robin Emmott
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Brussels

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The NATO military alliance will hold a summit on June 14 in Brussels, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, in the hope of repairing transatlantic ties under U.S. President Joe Biden amid growing tensions with Russia.

After a bruising four years under Donald Trump, who said that the Western alliance was "obsolete" and used NATO summits to portray an organisation in crisis, Biden is seeking to renew ties with the other 29 NATO allies, offering close cooperation.

"This is a unique opportunity to reinforce NATO as the enduring embodiment of the bond between Europe and North America," Stoltenberg said. The summit will follow a Group of Seven meeting of leaders in Britain.

He listed summit discussions focusing on "Russia's aggressive actions, the threat of terrorism, cyber attacks, emerging and disruptive technologies, the security impact of climate change, and the rise of China".

NATO summits after a U.S. election have traditionally been the setting for the nuclear-armed alliance to showcase unity, welcome a new American president and agree on political and military goals in its long stand-off with Russia.

NATO, founded in 1949 to contain a military threat from the Soviet Union, relies on U.S. leadership. Trump's veiled threat in 2018 to pull out shook confidence in the alliance, but in a visit to Brussels last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said NATO had "rediscovered its better self".

In a twist of fate, the NATO summit will also consider a report, called NATO 2030, commissioned in 2019 on reforms to the alliance, after Trump questioned its relevance.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Nick Macfie)