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NATO summit: Stoltenberg, “a difficult summit, allies are divided”. And asks for more investments in defence

(Brussels) “It will be an extremely important summit, because we are facing unprecedented challenges and threats and because there are differences and disagreements between the allies”. This is how, in a statement to the press before the Brussels summit, the general secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, explained what’s at stake here and said “he is confident that, despite all the discussions and disagreements, we will take decisions”. What is at stake is “the strengthening of joint defence” and above all readiness in the mobilisation of NATO troops, more intensive efforts to “fight terrorism with a new mission to Iraq for setting up troops and more support to Afghan security forces”, and the “modernisation of the headquarters”, by opening two new facilities, one in Norfolk, Virginia, and one in Ulm, Germany. The most awkward item is that of military expenditure. “I expect an open, straightforward discussion”, Stoltenberg said, and “that everyone will confirm their commitment to spending more”. “President Trump has a very straightforward language and message about military expenditure, but in fact all allies agree that a fairer sharing of the burden across the alliance is needed”, and that “those who spend less than 2% must do more. And that’s what we have started to do”. A 266 million dollar rise in the expense of Europe and Canada by 2024 has been agreed upon already, Stoltenberg pointed out: “After the cuts, the allies have started to spend more”.

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