Foreign Ministers renew pledges to Ukraine, fail to condemn atrocities in Gaza and look towards Washington Summit in 2024

A review of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Brussels, 28-29 November 2023

3 December 2023

This NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting discussed six main issues: (1) the Israel-Hamas war; (2) the Russia-Ukraine war; (3) strategic competition with China; (4) tensions in the western Balkans; (5) Sweden’s stalled membership application; and (6) technological innovation. The key activities and decisions taken by the NATO Foreign Ministers were as follows:

  • The NATO Secretary General welcomed the extension of the pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas, but failed to condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza or call for a permanent ceasefire.
  • The Ministers reiterated their support for Ukraine’s path to NATO membership (but the path is vague and divisions remain). Recent financial pledges from member states include a new training centre for Ukrainian pilots, and the provision of more air defences and ammunition.
  • The NATO-Ukraine Council met and issued a short statement reiterating existing commitments. The work programme for the Council in the next 12 months includes energy security, innovation and interoperability.
  • On the “challenges that China presents to Euro-Atlantic security”, the NATO Secretary General once again stressed that “China is not our adversary” but said that we “must be clear-eyed about the impact of China’s coercive policies on our security”.
  • The Foreign Ministers approved NATO’s first-ever quantum strategy, details of which remain classified.

For further details, see the attached pdf.