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The Interview

NATO chief hails strength of transatlantic bond on defence

In an interview with FRANCE 24, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg talked of the upcoming July NATO summit in Brussels, saying he believed it would be less divisive than the recent G7 summit in Canada.

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Stoltenberg added that despite differences between the US and its allies on issues such as trade the transatlantic bond had been ‘strengthened’, though he reiterated US President Trump's demands for European states to spend more on defence and security.

On the topic of Russia, he raised concerns over Moscow's increased investment in nuclear weapons and defended the deployment of NATO troops and weapons to Eastern Europe as a means “to prevent conflict, not provoke conflict”.

Stoltenberg went on to reaffirm NATO’s role in assisting the EU as it continues to face the challenges of the migrant crisis. He rejected, however, a call from the newly elected Italian government that said it was "under attack" from illegal immigrants and that NATO should intervene as a "collective defense".

Finally, he said he hoped the naming of the new 'Republic of North Macedonia' would pave the way for its future inclusion in NATO.

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