" So with the readiness action plan, improved capability and our unique set of partners, NATO is able to act swiftly, decisively and in concert with others, the secretary general said."
Cardiff, Sep 5 - NATO's 28 leaders at their Wales summit have agreed on a readiness action plan to strengthen the bloc's collective defence and to ensure the alliance is ready to deal with any challenge, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced Friday.

Rasmussen said the agreement showed the solidarity and resolve of NATO allies, adding that the readiness action plan would make NATO more ready and connected and aim to address dramatically changed security environment in Europe, Xinhua reported.

He said that NATO is facing a more unpredictable security environment than ever, as the conflict in Ukraine is still raging, violent extremists are rising in the Middle East, as well as the instability in North Africa.

NATO leaders at their meeting agreed to maintain a continuous presence and activity in the air, on land and at sea in the eastern part of the alliance, on a rotational basis, the NATO chief said.

In these turbulent times NATO must be prepared to undertake the full range of missions and to defend allies against the full range of threats, he added.

The leaders also agreed to create a spearhead unit within the NATO Response Force which would be a very high readiness force able to deploy at very short notice.

This spearhead will include several thousand land troops ready to deploy within a few days with air, sea and special forces support, Rasmussen said.

In addition, to enhance reinforcements, NATO plans to set up an appropriate command and control presence, reception facilities and will pre-position equipment, supplies and planners. It will also share intelligence, upgrade defence plans and hold more short-notice exercises.

He warned: NATO protects all allies, at all times. And it sends a clear message to any potential aggressor: should you even think of attacking one ally, you will be facing the whole alliance.

Leaders of NATO member states welcomed a package of measures to make sure that the alliance remains robust and ready, which including enhancing cyber defence, cooperation with partners, launching a defence capacity building initiative to help the alliance project stability without deploying large combat forces.

Rasmussen stressed that cyber defence is part of NATO's core task of collective defence, adding that Georgia, Jordan and Moldova are expected to join in the defence capacity building initiative following their requests.

He announced at the press conference that NATO will offer an extensive package of measures to Georgia to help it in its preparations toward membership.

Without giving a specific date, the chief said NATO leaders will launch assessment of Montenegro's progress to join NATO by the end of 2015 at the latest.

According the Open Door policy, allies need to assess applicant countries who want to join in NATO, while a wide range of reforms covering various fields, such as political, economic and security, need to be carried out before any country can join.

To date, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Macedonia are seeking membership with NATO.

So with the readiness action plan, improved capability and our unique set of partners, NATO is able to act swiftly, decisively and in concert with others, the secretary general said.

Rasmussen announced that Poland would host the next NATO summit which he said was a strong signal of Poland's leadership in NATO and NATO's more visible presence in the eastern part of our alliance.


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