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Donald Trump wants NATO members to make ‘greater effort’ to counter terrorism

Picture Courtesy: HT

Washington: President Donald Trump wants the NATO countries to make a greater effort towards combating terrorism and expects more financial commitment than they agreed to, the White House has said.

“With respect to NATO, there’s two issues. One is, he (Trump) would like to see a greater effort placed on combatting terrorism.

And two is to see more of the countries living up to their financial obligation that they agreed to,” the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.

Trump leaves on a five-nation tour later this week, during which he would attend the NATO Summit in Brussels. In his meeting with NATO leaders, the US President would confer on the war in Afghanistan and the fight against ISIS.

At a separate news conference, the Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that NATO will continue to be the guarantor of peace and stability in the North Atlantic area.

“Our commitment to collective defense under Article 5 of the NATO charter is clear. And this summer, we expect there to be numerous exercises with more than 20 nations in the Black Sea and Baltic regions of Europe,” he said.

“This collective training involves a joint and combined force of tens of thousands of ally and partner nation personnel, and training together helps maintain joint readiness, build interoperability, and strengthen relationships across Europe.

“The Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions and these exercises there are a demonstration of the US, allied, and partner commitment to security and stability,” he added.

Davis said Enhanced Forward Presence or EFP is a NATO mission which is demonstration of allied solidarity to defend NATO territory against any possible aggression. The US is a framework nation of this effort.

“We are responsible for deploying the battlegroup to Poland, and there are three other battlegroups that other NATO countries are doing in each of the three Baltic countries.

“Our battlegroup consists of about a thousand soldiers from the Second Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment as well as another 350 personnel from other nations,” he said.

The ERI, or European Reassurance Initiative, is a budget thing, Davis said. “The European Reassurance Initiative is a funding measure to assure our NATO allies and partners of the US commitment to the security and territorial integrity of NATO. In 2017, the budget for that is USD 3.42 billion,” he said.

PTI