NATO, US President Donald Trump agree on dialogue with Russia: Jens Stoltenberg

January 31, 2017 8:17 pm

NATO Secretary General speaks to reporters at the European Council building in Brussels on December 15, 2016 (Photo by AFP).

President and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have underscored the need to establish dialogue with Russia “from a position of strength,” the chief of the military coalition says.
Speaking with reporters at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Jens Stoltenberg pointed to his recent phone conversations with Trump and US Defense Secretary James Mattis, noting, “They all conveyed the same message that remains committed to NATO and the transatlantic bond.”
“The message of the new administration is that they also want dialogue with Russia but from a position of strength,” he said.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 30, 2017 (Photo by AFP). 

Earlier this month, Trump caused alarm in NATO as he called the Western military alliance “obsolete,” arguing that NATO was a coalition through which the US was spending tremendous funds to protect other extremely rich countries and that many NATO member states were not paying their fair share for US protection.
During his presidential campaign, the billionaire businessman had appeared to be conciliatory toward Russia, praising President Vladimir Putin.
However, over the recent days, the new top-echelon US military officials, including the defense secretary, have reiterated Washington’s support for NATO.
The US accounts for nearly 70 percent of NATO’s budget and has long urged its European allies to step up their contributions, particularly in the face of what Washington calls the “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.
In July 2016, NATO leaders agreed on the coalition’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War after the Crimean Peninsula joined Russia in 2014.
NATO leaders also called for dialogue with “a more assertive” Russia in an attempt to ensure transparency and avoid misunderstandings.
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