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NATO, EU work to tighten cooperation against 'new threats'

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NATO and the European Union on Thursday said they wanted to tighten cooperation in the face of "new threats" emanating from the assertive policies of Russia in the ex-USSR and violence to the south of the military alliance's borders.

[ANTALYA, Turkey] NATO and the European Union on Thursday said they wanted to tighten cooperation in the face of "new threats" emanating from the assertive policies of Russia in the ex-USSR and violence to the south of the military alliance's borders.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Turkey's southern resort of Antalya, said the two organisations were "different in nature" but facing similar challenges.

She said the two sides would be discussing the tensions with Russia over the situation in Ukraine and the "crisis in the south" as the EU grapples with an influx of migrants travelling from Libya.

"What is extremely important for us is a strong coordination... in particular when it comes to information sharing, when it comes to the new kind of threats we are facing all around us us," she said.

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"We (NATO and EU) have challenges around us that unite us. We are different in nature but we share values." In a nod to criticism that the European Union has been sluggish in responding to situations in its own neighbourhood, she said the bloc was "aware we need to increase our capacity to respond to crises." She emphasised that, in contrast to NATO, "this does not necessarily mean a military approach." "But we cannot rule out a military aspect of our work," Mogherini added.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the final day of the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Turkey - the first time such an event has taken place outside Brussels since 2011 - that NATO was facing "evolving" challenges to the east and the south.

Slamming Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine, he said: "To the east, a more assertive Russia has used force to change borders and intimidate neighbours." "To the south, violent extremism had reached a level unprecedented in modern times," he said, referring to the campaign of slaughter by Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

"We will discuss the long term strategic implications of the challenges we face and how NATO can work together with our partners and with the European Union to meet them," he added.

Stoltenberg also said that NATO would be working to improve its capacity against hybrid warfare, something it has accused Russia of carrying out in Ukraine by combining classical military techniques with non-conventional means like cyber-attacks and propaganda.

"We are enhancing our ability to deter and prevent hybrid threats," he said.

AFP

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