Security bloc chief says he has received assurances from Trump and his defense secretary of continued support for military alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday the new U.S. 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 U.S. 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 Defense Secretary James Mattis of continued U.S. 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 U.S. administration … will support strengthening NATO,” Stoltenberg said in Kuwait where he inaugurated a first NATO center in the Gulf region.
The NATO chief said he totally agreed with Trump and Mattis that European financial contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must increase. “European allies have to spend more, have to invest more on defense… 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 organization as “obsolete.”