MOSCOW (Sputnik) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he expected that at the summit NATO leaders would take decisions to increase the alliance’s support for the US-led coalition fighting Daesh terror group (banned in Russia). The Secretary General noted that the allies would also address burden-sharing across NATO, including how to meet the 2 percent spending pledge.
The meeting will be attended by US President Donald Trump as part of his first foreign trip. Trump arrived in Brussels on Wednesday, accompanied by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Prior to the meeting, Stoltenberg said he was not expecting the alliance members to ask for increased presence on the borders with Russia at the summit. Stoltenberg stressed that the issue of the NATO's eastern flank would be addressed at the meeting, but mostly to recognize that the alliance had been successful in reinforcing the region's capabilities in a relatively short period of time.
NATO's decision to boost its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, taken citing Russia's alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as justification for the move, has been repeatedly criticized by Moscow as the expansion of the alliance can lead to a regional and global destabilization.
NEW NATO HEADQUATERS
The alliance’s leaders are expected to participate in an official ceremony of NATO new headquarters handover from Belgium to the alliance. The headquarters was constructed after NATO old office proved to be outdated as the alliance has substantially grown over the years.
The US President will unveil the 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial and make a speech as the terrorist attack in New York on September 9 in 2011 has been the only time in the history of the alliance when the article on collective defense of the NATO founding treaty was invoked.
Trump is expected to finally clarify his stance on the Article 5, as he is the only US president who has not supported the Article 5 openly, although US Defense Secretary James Mattis previously said that US support of the article is “rock solid.”
The NATO leaders will then walk through the new headquarters’ agora and have a working dinner.