Home News Mattis warns NATO it will “moderate” commitment unless other countries bolster spending

Mattis warns NATO it will “moderate” commitment unless other countries bolster spending

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Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Jan. 17, 2017. NATO’s chiefs of defense meet twice a year to discuss NATO operations and missions to provide the North Atlantic Council with consensus-based military advice on how to best meet global security challenges. DoD photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann

The US has warned NATO it will “moderate” its commitment to the alliance unless member states boost their spending.

During talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels, US defense secretary James Mattis stressed the Trump administration expects members to meet the target of spending 2% of GDP on defense.

Mattis told members to “show support for our common defense” if they “do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance”.

He added: “I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States, and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms.”

Mattis’ comments come after Donald Trump claimed NATO was “obsolete” and complained several nations do not contribute their share financially.

Despite the claims, Mattis said the president “has strong support for NATO” and described the alliance as a “fundamental bedrock” for the US.

Mattis added Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 was “sobering” and said NATO must “continue to adapt to what’s being revealed to us in terms of our security challenges”.

During the two-day meeting in Brussels, NATO will review its operation in eastern Europe – where it is deploying four battlegroups to the Baltic states and Poland amid fears over Russian aggression.

Leaders are also set to discuss terrorism and cyber attacks.

Earlier, NATO officials confirmed the UK remained one of five states to meet the 2% spending target – despite a think tank’s claims Britain spent 1.98% of its GDP on defense in 2016.

According to a NATO assessment last July, only the UK, US, Greece, Estonia and Poland met the 2% target in 2016.

Britain was a driving force behind the obligation, which was agreed at a summit in 2014.

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