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    Lithuanian troops along with the other troops from 11 NATO nations take part in the exercise in urban warfare during Iron Sword exercise in the mock town near Pabrade, Lithuania, December 2, 2016.

    Lithuanian FM Says Vilnius Will Increase NATO Defense Spending in 2018

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    Lithuania is determined to increase its defense spending amid US calls to meet the alliance's 2 percent defense spending target, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told reporters on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked whether Lithuania supports the US call to increase contributions to the NATO, Linkevicius said, "We have decided on it ourselves, because for a long time there was lack of the funding."

    "We have an interparty agreement with all the parties of the whole spectrum, and this plan will be supported by political will," he added. "So, it is not just that we agree, we made this decision ourselves."

    Linkevicius added that next year the country’s defense budget will amount to 2,07 percent of GDP.

    Lithuania’s defense budget in 2017 stands at 723 million euros ($762.3 million) or 1.8 percent of GDP.

    In February, the Lithuanian State Defense Council suggested allocating 149.2 million euros ($157.1 million) for the defense ministry in the state budget of 2018.

    The issue of the contributions to the alliance has been raised repeatedly by the new US administration, insisting on all countries honoring their NATO budget responsibilities.

    The target of spending 2 percent of the GDP mandated by NATO was adopted at the alliance's September 2014 Summit in Wales, with only five countries, including the United States, meeting the required standard, according to NATO figures.


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