NATO is Not Planning to Isolate Russia – Stoltenberg

© REUTERS / Ints KalninsNATO eFP battle group soldiers wait for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visit in Tapa military base, Estonia September 6, 2017
NATO eFP battle group soldiers wait for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visit in Tapa military base, Estonia September 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed Wednesday that divergence on Iran, trade Issues between the US and other NATO countries won't undermine alliance's unity.

NATO's Secretary-General said Wednesday he expected the NATO member-states to back the Four Thirties Readiness Initiative envisaging forces combat readiness within 30 days or less.

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"I expect ministers will agree on a #NATO Readiness Initiative: the 'Four Thirties.' Allies would, by 2020, have 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons & 30 combat vessels, ready within 30 days or less," Stoltenberg said, as quoted by NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on Twitter.

The secretary general went on to say that the Initiative was not about setting up or deploying new forces but about boosting the readiness of existing forces.

He stated that he expected the bloc’s defense ministers to approve two new commands that will be based in the United States and Germany during their meetings on June 7-8.

"I expect we will agree that our new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic will be based at Norfolk in the #US & that our new Enabling Command will be based in Ulm, #Germany," Stoltenberg said as quoted by NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on Twitter.

An Abrams main battle tank, for U.S. troops deployed in the Baltics as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, leaves Riga port March 9, 2015. - Sputnik International
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NATO's Secretary-General underlined that the development of logistics military traffic in Europe the basis of relations between the alliance and the EU.

There has been no weakening of NATO's Transatlantic relations despite recent differences between the United States and Europe, Jens Stoltenberg said.

"The good news is that despite these serious differences… we do not see any weakening of the Transatlantic bond within NATO, we see actually a strengthening of that bond," Stoltenberg said.

The United States is currently increasing its military presence in Europe, NATO chief noted.

"Under Trump, we have seen a 40 percent increase in funding for the European Deterrence Initiative," he said.

That translated into increased number of troops, exercises and equipment supplies, Stoltenberg added.

Nevertheless, the differences, including trade and climate issues, that still exist between the United States and European NATO members, need to be addressed, he concluded.

NATO has been significantly increasing its presence in Eastern Europe after the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 using alleged Russian interference in the Ukrainian internal affairs as a pretext.

During a July 2016 summit in Warsaw, NATO allies agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Moscow has many times voiced protest against the NATO military buildup saying that this move will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.

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