Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NATO chief calls on all members to reach defense spending target

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday called on all member nations to reach NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.

Stoltenberg welcomed NATO members' progress on defense spending during the presentation of his 2016 annual report at a press conference.

The report shows that 23 NATO members increased their defense expenditure in real terms by 3.8 percent in 2016.

"But the job is far from done. We still do not have fair burden-sharing within our alliance," said Stoltenberg.

In 2016, five nations spent 2 percent or more of GDP on defense -- the United States, Britain, Greece, Poland and Estonia, according to the report.

"It is realistic that all allies should reach this goal" as all nations have agreed to it at the highest level, Stoltenberg said.

"After the Cold War we saw a decline in defense spending but we actually spent 2 percent of GDP on defense in Europe as late as in the year 2000, meaning that it's possible to do it again," he added.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis also stressed fair burden-sharing among members at NATO's defense minister meeting last month.

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