Europe

NATO ministers meet on wide array of security challenges

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, May 19, 2016. NATO foreign ministers this week will discuss how the alliance can deal more effectively with security threats outside Europe, including by training the Iraqi military and cooperating with the European Union to choke off people-smuggling operations in the central Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

NATO foreign ministers are meeting on how to handle a daunting and simultaneous array of security challenges facing the alliance, from Afghanistan and the Middle East and North Africa to a rearmed and resurgent Russia.

On Thursday, the first day of the two-day meeting, the ministers will officially welcome Montenegro as a new alliance member-designate, subject to approval by the U.S. Senate and parliaments in NATO's other member states. The rapprochement between the former Yugoslav republic and NATO has been loudly opposed by Moscow.

It's only the seventh time in NATO's 67-year existence that the alliance is agreeing to grow. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is calling it "a historic step."

Ministers will also review NATO policy toward Russia. Stoltenberg said the alliance's approach is based on two pillars: defense, but also dialogue.