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2019.12.13 10:00

Technical hurdles may arise over NATO's Baltic defence plan – Lithuanian president

BNS 2019.12.13 10:00

The Turkish president has backed an updated defence plan for the Baltic states and Poland, but technical hurdles may still arise, according to the Lithuanian president.

Ankara threatened to block the updated plans until NATO designates the Kurdish groups in northern Syria that Turkey is fighting as terrorist orgnaisations. However, the West has backed the Kurds in the fight against ISIS.

Read more: Turkey 'will stand against' NATO plans for Baltics over Syria, confirms Erdogan

"At the political level, a result has been achieved. At the technical level, attempts can still be made to somewhat complicate the process," Nausėda told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

"But what's most important to me is that Erdogan's approval in principle was obtained at the NATO summit. And what defense ministers and generals and specialists will do afterwards is another issue," the president said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after last week's summit in London that the Alliance's leaders had agreed to the updated defence plan for the Baltics and Poland.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said two days later that the Baltic-Polish plan "will certainly not be published until our plan is published".

"The two plans are at the same level and are waiting in the same room," he said. "If there is a problem, they will be blocked together."

NATO's defence plans for the Baltic states and Poland were first approved in 2010, but Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Poland want them to be regularly updated.

The defence plans are classified, but Lithuanian officials constantly ask the allies to ensure air defence capabilities and a quicker deployment of forces to the region in a crisis.

Read more: Baltics, Poland convince Turkey not to block defence plan, Lithuanian president confirms