Tense Russia ties, Afghan peace hopes top NATO agenda

NATO will hold its last major meeting in its old headquarters, with talks focused on strained ties with Russia, a fresh peace effort in Afghanistan and a new training mission for Iraq.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that allies want to set up a meeting with Moscow’s envoy before NATO’s summit in Brussels in July.

The NATO-Russia Council hasn’t convened this year. The poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain plus the Syria chemical attack blamed on Moscow’s ally, President Bashar Assad, underline the need for talks.

Speaking before a NATO foreign ministerial meeting Friday, Stoltenberg said: “when tensions are high, it is even more important to talk with Russia.”

The ministers will also discuss Macedonia and Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO.