NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg said that he is confident that the differences in the military alliance can be “overcome” in a sideswipe at President Donald Trump but said he believed the US is “committed” to the defence team.
Mr Stoltenberg praised the UK’s important contributions to NATO during his speech in London forming part of his two-day visit to the country.
The NATO chief acknowledged the disagreements between the US and the rest of the allies recently but said repeatedly that the alliance had to overcome differences in the past and it had done so successfully.
He said that although allies have different views on issues such as trade, climate change and the Iran Nuclear Deal, the “lesson of history is that we overcome these differences every time.”
Mr Stoltenberg said: “That is something they do and prove every day through actions in Europe. The US commitment to NATO is not only words, but also in deeds.”
Theresa May said there were some issues that the UK disagreed on with the US but she insisted “we are able to come together to discuss these issues.”
Defiant Mr Stoltenberg said: “What makes NATO unique is the bond between Europe and North America, for nearly 70 years North America and Europe have worked together to preserve peace and since the finding of NATO the UK has been vital in keeping the transatlantic bond strong.”
The Secretary General continued: “The reality is we are delivering trans-atlantic unity every day through the alliance.”
The UK’s Prime Minister thanked NATO for its support after the neve agent attack in Salisbury.
She said the UK will continue to be a “leading defence nation”.
Mrs May said: “The United Kingdom is a leading member of the NATO alliance. We are a leading defence nation.”
Following talks in Downing Street with Mr Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister said the UK would maintain a range of capabilities – including conventional, cyber and nuclear.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “I know that NATO can rely on the United Kingdom and that United Kingdom can rely on NATO.
“This country did not have to respond to the attack in Salisbury alone, it had the strength and support of 28 allies behind it.
“When NATO is needed most, allies stand together.”
He said that NATO would continue to be modernised and adapted to combat the challenges that t faces and will continue to “adapt and deliver for the future”.
One of the aims is for the alliance to launch a new training mission in Iraq and to extend the funding for Afghan forces.
In the House of Commons yesterday, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson warned that the US should not be picking up for the bill for the defence of Europe.
He said that other countries should meet the NATO target of spending a minimum of two percent of GDP on defence.
Source : EXPRESS