BigNews.Biz - Apr 13,2017 - Background Briefing on the Visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: †So Iím here to provide some context on the Presidentís meeting this afternoon with NATO Secretary General Jens Soltenberg. †We expect the two leaders will exchange views on a wide range of topics in preparation for the meeting of NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on May 25th, the Presidentís first foreign trip since taking office.
In his meeting with the Secretary General, we expect the President will reaffirm the strong commitment of the United States to NATO, and the value he places on the transatlantic bond in general. †He will emphasize the ironclad U.S. commitment to the collective defense of NATO allies under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. †
The President will also highlight the importance of NATO allies taking on their fair share of the burden of the collective defense of the North Atlantic region. †In that connection, we expect the President and Secretary General to discuss how they can work with other NATO allies to increase defense budgets in line with the 2014 Wales pledge on defense investment. †As a reminder, the Wales pledge commits all allies to ďaim to move toward spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, and of that 2 percent, to dedicate at least 20 percent to equipment procurement, and research and development.Ē †
The President and the Secretary General will also discuss NATOís role in supporting international efforts to fight terrorism globally. †On Afghanistan, the President and Secretary General will discuss the ongoing review of our policy in order to ensure our efforts are fully coordinated with NATO allies and partners. †
On Iraq, the two will discuss NATOís ongoing training and capacity-building mission in Iraq, as well as potential additional contributions we could make to the international effort to support Iraq in countering ISIS. †
Finally, we expect the President and the Secretary General to talk about NATOís approach to Russia and to emphasize that Russia must uphold all of its commitments under the Minsk agreements to peacefully resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
And before I get to questions, of course, I would just remind everyone that on Monday, President Trump signed the United States instrument of ratification of the protocol for Montenegroís accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and this followed, of course, the Senateís March 28th overwhelming and bipartisan vote of advice and consent in support of ratification.
So with that, I will take your questions. †
Q † †To what extent will they discuss Russiaís violation of the IMF treaty and options of how to respond? †What are some of those options?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: †Sure. †I canít get into any specific options that they will discuss, but I imagine that will come up in the context of the broader Russia discussion that theyíll have today. †
Q † †Is this going to be an awkward discussion, given that President Trump had called NATO ďobsoleteĒ during the campaign?