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.”
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.
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.