Monday, 18 June, 2018

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief: United States allies to spend $12 billion more this year

Kayla Schwartz | 28 June, 2017, 22:26

Europe and Canada will raise defence spending at the fastest pace for three years in 2017, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, partly aimed at showing the United States they are committed to shouldering more costs.

The NATO chief said five allied nations had met their defence spending targets the previous year - now 2 per cent of gross domestic product - and expected Romania, Latvia and Lithuania to achieve the same by 2018.

After that annexation, allies agreed to spend 2 percent of economic output on defence every year by 2024 and reverse a trend that saw military research spending in the European Union fall by more than 20 billion euros ($23 billion) since 2006.

"They (NATO members) should increase spending on defense not just to please the United States", Stoltenberg said. New U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the alliance as obsolete during his campaign, before concluding earlier this year that it was "no longer obsolete" despite no major changes of focus.

In all, the three years represented an overall increase of $46 billion dollars, boosting NATO's ability to face the Russian challenge in Europe and new threats such as Islamic State-inspired jihadi terrorism across the Middle East and North Africa.

Chelsea first opponents for Spurs at new 'home' Wembley
It looks like former United forward Hatem Ben Arfa, now at Paris Saint-Germain, will be on the move again this summer. They also criticised the timing of the announcement for television fixtures, which will be released on July 10.

"The U.S. commitment to our NATO Article Five security guarantee is ironclad, as demonstrated over decades of our steadfastness and given voice more recently by President Trump before the American people", Mattis said.

But only four of NATO's 27 European members - Greece, Britain, Poland and Estonia - met the spending target in 2016. Romania is on course this year to join the ranks of the 2 percent club, followed by Latvia and Lithuania in 2018.

Trump later said he backed the mutual defense agreement, and other senior officials rushed to express US support.

On the issue of defense spending, he stated this was set to rise by 4.3 percent, excluding the U.S, this year. He said US military deployments to NATO's eastern European countries will last until at least 2020 and noted that Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget request calls for a 42 percent increase for European military spending.

Trump disappointed European partners who hoped he would use the occasion to explicitly reaffirm America's commitment to NATO's collective defense principle, which is enshrined in Article 5 of the NATO treaty.

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