On Deck at NATO Summit: ISIS, Ukraine
World leaders will also discuss the current mission in Afghanistan
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2014 7:59 AM CDT
US President Barack Obama, center, stands with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, and British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrives for a NATO summit in Wales on Sept. 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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(Newser) – A NATO summit today in Wales originally meant to focus on the ongoing Ukraine crisis will shift gears to include high-level discussions on the American- and British-led push to address ISIS, reports the New York Times. President Obama and British PM David Cameron penned a joint letter in the Times of London today, and they don't mince words, writing, "If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats, they could not be more wrong. Countries like Britain and America will not be cowed by barbaric killers."

Other highlights and expected topics during today's summit, said to be the "largest gathering of foreign leaders on British soil," reports the Washington Post:

  • Obama and other ally leaders convened with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to discuss his country's crisis, as well as the possibility of the allies sending assistance to the embattled country, reports the Times. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said beforehand that he embraces "all efforts to fund a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine," despite Russia's continued involvement "on the ground in destabilizing the situation," reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Ukraine is interested in joining NATO, which spooks other members who don't want to fire Russia up, reports the Post. It might be too late, however: The Russian foreign minister blasted the idea as "a blatant attempt to derail" a peace deal, reports the AP as per the Times.
  • NATO allies will also discuss setting up a "rapid response" contingent made up of a few thousand troops who could swoop in within two days' time if a crisis should arise, reports the Journal.
  • The current combat mission in Afghanistan, now going on 13 years, is also on the table, and talks are expected to hash out more details about the mission's switchover to a training-and-assistance initiative, reports CBS News. One thing that's holding up plans: the results of the Afghan elections. "Everyone thought this would be a meeting in which NATO would celebrate the end of the mission," a former NATO rep said yesterday. "The developments in Afghanistan have put a monkey wrench in that part of the conversation."