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The Interview

NATO chief Stoltenberg: US is 'strongly committed to Alliance'

In an interview with FRANCE 24 at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the US commitment to NATO under President Donald J. Trump and the Alliance's relations with Russia.

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Stoltenberg said he was reassured by recent statements from US officials – including Vice President Mike Pence and Defence Secretary James Mattis – reiterating Washington’s commitment to the Alliance. President Donald J. Trump called NATO "obsolete" just days before taking office in January, raising concerns across the Atlantic.

"The message has been that the United States is strongly committed to NATO, to the transatlantic bond – without any doubt," Stoltenberg told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman. He added that he had two phone calls with Trump in which the US president "expressed exactly the same strong commitment to NATO".

"The United States knows that a strong NATO is important for Europe, but it is also important for the United States. Two world wars and a Cold War have taught them that stability in Europe is also important for North America," he said.

However, the NATO chief acknowledged that some member states need to spend more on defence. He said US Vice President Pence "is right to call for more defence spending across Europe and Canada".

“It is true that many allies have to do much more than they do today," Stoltenberg added.

The NATO chief also addressed sometimes tense relations with Moscow. "We have been able to make some progress in the political dialogue with Russia," he said.

"NATO does not want a new Cold War," he said. "We don’t want a new arms race, we don’t want to provoke conflict; we want to prevent conflict and preserve the peace," he said.

Click on the video player above to watch the full FRANCE 24 interview.

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