New US Secretary Of State Pompeo Pushes NATO Allies On Spending

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

"We will begin with a meeting to discuss Russian Federation".

"We are in a situation where we are not being before because we're not in the old Cold War but we are neither in the strategic partnership we try to build after the Cold War".

Welcoming former Central Intelligence Agency chief Pompeo to the NATO headquarters less than 24 hours after the top USA diplomat was sworn in, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of the need to adapt the 29-member Western alliance "to a more demanding security environment".

They discussed ways to combat growing regional threats from both Russian Federation and Iran, and ways to strengthen the global alliance.

According to a State Department official, Russia's aggression in Ukraine, Georgia and in Syria, as well as plans for increasing security along Europe's southern frontier, are expected to dominate the talks with allies.

"I welcome the meeting today between the two leaders, the progress they have made, and the commitment they have shown to resolving their differences peacefully", Stoltenberg said in a news conference following the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

The alliance remains open to talks with Russian Federation, the secretary general said, and the channels must remain open especially when tensions on the continent are high.

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"Stoltenberg said Pompeo's visit to Brussels was "a great expression of the importance of the alliance".

Pompeo will also press members of the alliance to increase their military budgets to meet a target of 2 percent of economic output on defence every year by 2024, the official said.

No sooner had his appointment been confirmed by the US Senate on Thursday than Mr Pompeo, chosen by the President, Donald Trump, to head up US Foreign Affairs, took off for Belgium.

The ministers are also likely to agree on the details of NATO's new training mission for the Iraqi armed forces.

Pompeo will also have separate talks with the foreign ministers of Italy and Turkey.

Russian Federation also agreed to provide technological know-how for the production of a new generation of Turkish air defense systems. Pompeo will arrive in Riyadh on Saturday ahead of a series of events that could potentially plunge the region into deeper disarray, including Trump's decision by May 12 on whether to pull out of the Iran deal, and the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem two days later.

Pompeo will then travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli and Jordanian leaders to discuss regional and bilateral issues.

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