NATO’s Stoltenberg Meets With US Defense Chief Mattis

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Pentagon on Tuesday to discuss enhancing NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism and preparations for the upcoming Meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels.

Stoltenberg is in the US to attend a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Coalition on Wednesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Mattis said, “We have a very strong trans-Atlantic bond. It’s getting stronger. Relationships don’t stay the same. They’re always changing. In this case, the bond is getting stronger.”

Mattis added that the US-NATO relationship is “built on a legacy of common commitments and common defense.”

For his part, Stoltenberg said that a strong NATO is good for Europe, “and we are also grateful for the commitment of the United States to the security guarantees to Europe.”

According to Stoltenberg, “a strong NATO is also good for North America because stability in Europe is good for all of us. Two world wars and the cold war have taught us all that peace and stability in Europe is important for Europe of course, but also for North America.”

During their talks, Stoltenberg and Mattis discussed how the Alliance can do even more in the fight against terrorism, and NATO’s missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The two leaders also reviewed progress on NATO defence spending and agreed on the importance of fairer burden-sharing between Allies.

Stoltenberg also met Tuesday with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati.

Stoltenberg on Wednesday will attend a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Coalition, hosted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. All 28 NATO Allies are members of the Coalition, and NATO is providing direct support to Coalition forces with AWACS surveillance flights. The Alliance is also strengthening its support for partners in North Africa and the Middle East, including by training Iraqi military personnel.

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