Tue, 10 Dec 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump will host NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg next week to discuss military spending -- as the U.S. leader continues his effort to press alliance members to pay more toward in their own defense.

The White House on November 9 said the two leaders will meet on November 14 to discuss NATO allies' 'progress on increasing defense spending and ensuring more equitable burden-sharing.'

The meeting will come ahead of a scheduled NATO summit on December 3-4 in London.

Trump has had a hot and cold relationship with the longtime military alliance, having called it 'obsolete' during his presidential campaign, but conceding its value more as president.

The meeting will come a week after French President Emmanuel Macron -- in an interview with The Economist on November 7 -- warned fellow European countries that NATO is dying because of Washington's lack of predictability under Trump, a view quickly rejected by Germany but hailed by Russia.

Macron voiced doubt about Article 5 of NATO's Charter, which states that an attack on one ally is an attack on all -- a clause that has been the cornerstone of the transatlantic alliance since its foundation in 1949.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking alongside Stoltenberg in Berlin after the Macron interview came out, defended NATO as 'indispensable.'

Macron 'used drastic words,' she said, adding, 'that is not my view of cooperation in NATO.'

During his time in Washington, Stoltenberg will also meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and members of Congress, the alliance said.

He will attend a ministerial-level meeting of a global coalition formed to battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

France called for the urgent session after Trump said he was withdrawing U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria, raising fears that IS and other extremist groups could stage a comeback.

With reporting by AFP and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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