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Trump, US administration ‘fully’ committed to NATO: chief

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he had received assurances from both President Donald Trump and his Defence Secretary James Mattis of continued US support for the alliance © AFP/File / JOHN THYS

Kuwait City, Kuwait, Jan 24 – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday the new US administration was “fully committed” to the Western military alliance despite strong criticism from President Donald Trump.

“I am absolutely certain that President Trump and the new US administration will be fully committed to NATO and to the transatlantic partnership,” Stoltenberg said in Kuwait City.

The NATO chief also said he had received assurances from both Trump and his Defence Secretary James Mattis of continued US support for the alliance.

“I spoke with President Trump a few days after he was elected in November and he conveyed a very strong message to me that he personally was very committed to NATO and the transatlantic partnership,” Stoltenberg said.

He said he also spoke with Mattis on Monday “who expressed strong support to NATO”.

“I am absolutely certain that the new US administration … will support strengthening NATO,” Stoltenberg said in Kuwait where he inaugurated a first NATO centre in the Gulf region.

The NATO chief said he totally agreed with Trump and Mattis that European financial contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation must increase.

“European allies have to spend more, have to invest more on defence… We have seen some progress but there is a long way to go,” Stoltenberg said.

The Pentagon said on Monday that Mattis reassured NATO allies that Washington had an “unshakeable commitment” to the military alliance, despite Trump having previously deriding the organisation as “obsolete”.

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