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ARGENTINA | 18-04-2024 16:09

Argentina formally asks to become ‘global partner’ of NATO

Defence Minister Luis Petri delivers letter of intent to authorities from transatlantic military alliance, seeking Argentina's approval as a "global partner" of NATO.

Argentina has formally applied to become a partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), underlining the nation’s new geopolitical realignment under President Javier Milei.

Defence Minister Luis Petri revealed Thursday that he had presented NATO authorities with a "letter of intent" for the country to become a "global partner" of the military alliance. 

He made the proposal during a meeting with top NATO officials at the organisation’s headquarters in Brussels.

"I met with Mircea Geoana, Deputy Secretary General of NATO. I presented him with the letter of intent expressing Argentina's request to become a global partner of this organisation," posted Petri on the X social network.

"We will continue to work on recovering links that will allow us to modernise and train our forces to NATO standards," he added.

NATO is an transatlantic military alliance governed by the North Atlantic Treaty and is effectively a collective defence system. It currently has a select group of nine countries formally designated as “global partners.” 

Among Latin American nations, only Colombia achieved that status, back in 2018. It collaborates on issues including the combating of terrorism, organised crime, cybersecurity and maritime security.

Argentina’s approach is an expression of its new orientation under Milei, who has sought to shift the country’s foreign relations. The self-described “anarcho-capitalist” President says his key allies are the United States – NATO’s leading voice – and Israel.

In his own statement, Geoana noted that "Argentina plays an important role in Latin America” and said he welcomed the request. 

However, the experienced Romanian politician noted that any decision on a formal partnership requires the "consensus of all 32 members" of the military alliance.

Defence Ministry sources told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that Petri’s meeting went well, with Geoana expressing his wish that "the process of incorporation be as quick as possible.”

In addition to Geoana, Petri also met with NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Spain's Javier Colomina, while in Brussels.

Since taking office last December, Milei has redirected Argentina’s foreign policy. After refusing to join the BRICS bloc of nations (which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), he has focused on deepening ties with the United States, Israel and Ukraine.

NATO celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding earlier this month, but finds itself menaced by an aggressive Russia and the spectre of Donald Trump's return to power in the United States.

The Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 re-invigorated NATO as it was confronted by one of the most serious challenges since it emerged from the ashes of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact group.

The alliance has since bolstered its forces across eastern Europe and grown to 32 members after Finland and Sweden joined its ranks.

But while the war has refocused NATO's attention on its old nemesis Moscow to the east, member states have been accused of not doing enough to support Ukraine, which is seeking to join the group.

Milei has been one of war-torn nation’s prime defenders since taking office and has called on the “Western, democratic and free world” to support Ukrainian leader Volodymir Zelenskyy, with whom he shares excellent relations.


– TIMES/AFP

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