US top diplomat Tillerson to push NATO pay up in first talks

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BRUSSELS, March 31, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will push his NATO allies to boost defence spending, at their first talks on Friday, by warning them that the disproportionate US share is “unsustainable,” officials said.

Tillerson will be the latest top US administration official to deliver that message when he meets fellow NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

The meeting is in preparation for a May 25 NATO summit in the Belgian
capital which US President Donald Trump will attend.

While saying the allies themselves know they must do more, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg dismissed concerns that Trump is less committed to the 28-nation alliance than his predecessors.

“They are very committed to NATO and the transatlantic bond because they see the importance of NATO for Europe but they also see the importance of NATO for the US,” Stoltenberg told a press conference on the meeting’s eve.

Tillerson will also push the allies to increase their role in fighting
terrorism, a senior State Department official told reporters ahead of the trip.

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