Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Pompeo in Brussels for show of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Pompeo in Brussels for show of support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Because of Nato's central role in pushing back against Russia, Mr Pompeo said it was even more important that the allies, particularly Germany, the largest and wealthiest European member, meet their commitments to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defence by 2024.

The ministers, holding their 70th and final meeting before moving across the road to NATO's new, sprawling billion-dollar premises, will also discuss Georgia and Ukraine's aspirations to join the world's biggest military alliance.

Pompeo's supporters said he did well during 15 months leading the Central Intelligence Agency, and said the United States badly needed a leader at the State Department.

But, away from the bonhomie of his welcome, Pompeo also came with a tough message on the need for other member states to increase their military spending and thus reduce the burden placed on the alliance´s biggest member.Some allies, notably wealthy Germany, are reluctant to meet a commitment made at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Wales in September 2014 to spend at least two percent of their GDP on defence.

The alliance remains open to talks with Russian Federation, the secretary general said, and the channels must remain open especially when tensions on the continent are high.

"So we must continue to adapt to hybrid challenges".

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Pompeo will also have separate talks with the foreign ministers of Italy and Turkey.

"We have renewed our commitment, including with significant troop increases and financial support". Relations with the latter are notably strained.

The foreign ministers also discussed Russian Federation during the meeting, confirming NATO's strategy of seeking to deter Russian Federation from destabilizing behaviour while maintaining dialogue, Stolenberg said.

Earlier, Stoltenberg said that the plans of the Alliance do not include full isolation of Russian Federation. Pompeo will also renew calls for the release of a jailed American pastor accused by Turkey of espionage, and encourage Turkey not to pursue the purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russian Federation.

Pompeo will then travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli and Jordanian leaders to discuss regional and bilateral issues. Looming over Pompeo's trip is uncertainty over Trump's policy on Syria, which has shifted between a speedy all-out withdrawal of American forces from the country and leaving a lasting footprint to deter Iran from completing a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut.

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