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At NATO Summit, U.S. And Europe Ready New Sanctions Against Russia


President Obama and other world leaders are on their way home from Wales. They spent two days at a NATO summit there discussing problems ranging from Ukraine to Islamic extremism. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, they left with some concrete agreements.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: As the sun rose over the rolling Welsh golf resort where the Summit took place, warplanes zoomed in tight formation over the heads of world leaders. Tanks and other combat vehicles were parked on the putting greens - a visible symbol of NATO's military power. World leaders want to be able to mobilize this power more quickly. Right now it can take months to deploy troops. So, leaders disagreed today on what they called a spearhead force.


DAVID CAMERON: Deployable anywhere in the world in just two to five days.

SHAPIRO: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron - the summit host, was the first to commit troops. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was very clear about the reason for this new deployment. He said it puts Russia on notice, quote, "should you even think about attacking one ally you will be facing the whole alliance."


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: In the lights of the current security situation, I find it appropriate that as a result of this readiness action plan you will see more visible NATO presence in the East. I think that sends a very clear message to Moscow.

SHAPIRO: A lot of this summit focused on Russia's role in Ukraine. While Ukraine is not a NATO member, leaders were unanimous condemning Russia's actions there and they want to make sure it doesn't try the same strategy elsewhere. During the day word came of a cease-fire deal. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko expressed cautious optimism.


PETRO POROSHENKO: And I really hope that now peace process will be launched.

SHAPIRO: General Rasmussen and other world leaders sounded more skeptical.

RASMUSSEN: We know that one thing is a declaration and quite another thing is implementation.

SHAPIRO: At a news conference this afternoon President Obama said the U.S. and Europe have prepared new sanctions against Russia and he said they will move ahead despite the cease-fire. The sanctions can be lifted if the truce holds.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Obviously we are hopeful, but based on past experience also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and the Russians will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. So, it has to be tested.

SHAPIRO: Beyond Europe the big focus of this meeting was the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Video of a second American journalist being beheaded seems to have focused world leaders here. The Brits are talking more openly about airstrikes than they were before and President Obama said there was unanimous agreement that something must be done.


OBAMA: I did not get any resistance or push back to the basic notion that we have a critical role to play in rolling back this savage organization that is causing so much chaos in the region and is harming so many people.

SHAPIRO: The specific plan is still a work in progress and that's been a source of criticism from people who say the U.S. lacks a clear strategy. The U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense hosted a meeting with their counterparts on the sidelines of NATO to talk about the threat. They want everyone to agree on a global plan of attack by the time the U.N.'s Security Council meets in New York later this month.


OBAMA: We're going to achieve our goal. We're going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.

SHAPIRO: President Obama said this is not a threat that can be merely contained. The group must be dismantled.


OBAMA: You can't contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people.

SHAPIRO: The president also confirmed that a U.S. airstrike this week killed the cofounder of Somalia's Islamist, al-Shabaab. He promised to deal with Islamists in Syria and Iraq just as decisively. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Cardiff, Wales. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.