Trump urges NATO chief on ‘encouraging’ members to pay fair share

Washington: In a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday discussed ways to “encourage” other members of the alliance to pay their fair share, the White House said.

The White House statement said, “The leaders discussed how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments,” while adding that Trump agreed to attend a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in late May.

The statement said that Trump spoke to Stoltenberg “about the United States’ strong support for NATO.”

European leaders are concerned about Trump’s virulent criticism of NATO – he has dubbed the transatlantic military alliance “obsolete”. During the campaign last year, he raised questions about the U.S. commitment to the alliance and noted that most of the 28 nations don’t pay the requested percent of gross domestic product for membership.

The White House said that the two leaders also discussed “the potential for a peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border.” Russian-backed separatists have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014.

“The parties agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing NATO,” the White House said. (ANI)