08:09 GMT +324 September 2017
    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    NATO Defense Ministers Agree to Stand Behind Transatlantic Partnership

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    The NATO secretary general said that NATO defense ministers agreed on the need to boost partnership and to share the burden of military spending fairly.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — Defense ministers of NATO member states agreed on the need to boost partnership and to share the burden of military spending fairly, alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

    "We live in an pivotal moment for our security. In times of turmoil and unpredictability, we need strong transatlantic bond more than ever. And a very clear message from the defense ministerial meeting in Brussels, which ended yesterday, was that we all stand behind the strong transatlantic partnership. It has to be strong commitment to the transatlantic partnership from both Europe and North America because we all know that alone we cannot cope with all the challenges," Stoltenberg said in a doorstep statement ahead of the Munich Security Conference.

    He also noted that the issue of NATO member states' commitment to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense had already been discussed.

    "Of course, one of the issues that was stressed by the defense ministers but also in meetings with [US Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis was the importance of burden sharing, increase of defense spending across Europe and Canada and fair burden sharing," Stoltenberg added.

    On Wednesday, Mattis noted that only five out of 28 NATO member states fulfill their military spending obligations and warned that the United States may moderate its commitments to the alliance if its member states fail to comply with their commitments.


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