Trump salutes NATO with vow of strong support: Commits to NATO summit appearance

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US President Donald Trump vowed stout support for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO on Monday, despite loudly voiced objections to its relevancy and its funding,according to the organisation. The President insisted again that member countries scale up their defence spending on the alliance.

Trump, who was outspoken on the campaign trail about the role and upkeep of the security pact, spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Sunday night.

“The Secretary General recalled NATO’s consistent policy of strong defence and dialogue with Russia,” the statement reads. “The Secretary General and President Trump looked forward to the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels in late May to discuss these issues.”

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Trump and Stoltenberg specifically discussed NATO allies meeting their defence spending commitments, the role of the organisation in defeating terror, and the potential for a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian conflict.

“We strongly support NATO,” Trump said at the headquarters of US Central Command in Florida. “We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing. Many of them have not been even close. And they have to do that.”

Only five of NATO’s 28 members — the US, Greece, Poland, Estonia and the UK — meet the alliance’s target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence.

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Last month, in a joint interview with the Times of London and the German publication Bild, Trump accused the organization, which was founded in 1949 as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism, of being “obsolete.”

Trump has offered varying stances on NATO during his campaign and presidency, calling the membership obsolete and ill-prepared to confront modern-day threats. His remarks on Monday signaled he would maintain US backing for the partnership while continuing to press other countries to meet its budget requirements.

However, Trump’s Defense Secretary, James Mattis, later sent a strong signal of support to NATO later in January, reaching out to three critical alliance partners and saying the US had an “‘unshakeable commitment to NATO.”
Meanwhile White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about comments made by James Mattis, “The President is very clear that as it’s structured now, in terms of the output of NATO, he doesn’t feel as though it’s doing what its mission was set up to do or that it’s being particularly effective,” Spicer said.
US President Donald Trump has committed to attend a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in May, according to the organization.

 

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