Argentina files request to join NATO as a ‘global partner’

Defense Minister Luis Petri presented a letter of intent to NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana in Brussels

Brussels, Belgium.- In photos taken on April 18, 2024, the Minister of Defense of Argentina, Luis Petri (right), and the deputy secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Mircea Geoana (left) during a meeting at the NATO headquarters. Petri announced that he delivered a letter expressing Argentina's request to become a global partner of the NATO Organization. In January 1998, Argentina was designated by the United States as an important extra-NATO Ally, a status that establishes privileges of military and economic cooperation between both countries. This designation remains in effect.

Argentina has presented a letter of intent requesting to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a “global partner,” Defense Minister Luis Petri announced Thursday morning in a post on X. 

“We will continue working to recover ties that allow us to improve and train our [military] forces following NATO standards,” Petri wrote. Alongside his post was a picture of his meeting in Brussels with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana. 

Petri traveled to Belgium after finalizing the purchase of 24 F-16 fighter jets from Denmark. The jets, which cost 2.1 billion kroner (approximately US$300 million), were manufactured in the United States. No official date has been scheduled for their transfer.

NATO is a political and military alliance of countries from Europe and North America. It currently has 32 full members, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany. According to its website members are “committed to protecting each other from any threat.”

Argentina has been a “major non-NATO ally” since 1998, meaning the country has strategic relationships with the U.S. Armed Forces while not being a full NATO member. The global partner or “partner across the globe” status is reserved for countries who want to cooperate with NATO but are restricted from full membership due to treaty guidelines that state that only European nations can be invited to fully join.  

The only Latin American country that currently has NATO global partner status is Colombia. Other countries are Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan. A key difference between the global partner and ally status is that countries in the former are not required to intervene in a military conflict. 

Argentina’s request coincides with President Milei’s foreign policy stance of pursuing closer relationships with Western countries. In early April, Milei met with U.S. Southern Command General Laura Richardson in Ushuaia and vowed to increase its “strategic alliance” with the United States in order to better defend Argentina’s sovereignty. 

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