Updated February 15th, 2024 at 19:24 IST

NATO Warns Against Dividing US, EU After Trump Claims Bloc ‘Delinquent’ in Funding

“I welcome that the European allies are investing more in defense,"

Reported by: Digital Desk
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and ex US President Donald Trump. | Image:AP
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Secretary General of the western military bloc NATO on Thursday warned against dividing the US and Europe, or driving a wedge between their ties after former US President Donald Trump remarked that he would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell it wants” to the member states for failing to meet their financial obligations. Jens Stoltenberg’s comments came amid concerns from the allies about former US President Trump re-elected to the office.

During a campaign speech in Conway, South Carolina, Trump said that Russia can do whatever it wants as NATO countries were lagging behind in their monetary commitment.  "NATO was busted until I came along," Trump said. "I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.' They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?' I said, 'Absolutely not.' They couldn't believe the answer.” On question of whether America would protect its allies, Trump said, "No, I would not protect you," Trump recalled telling that country's leader. "In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

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Speaking at the NATO Alliance's Brussels headquarters, where he chaired meeting with the defense ministers, Stoltenberg said, “I welcome that the European allies are investing more in defense, and NATO has called for that for many, many years.” He continued, “But that’s not an alternative to NATO. That is actually a way to strength NATO. And we should not pursue any path that indicates that we are trying to divide Europe from North America.”

In recent weeks, reported emerged that the Alliance is in talks to establish a nuclear umbrella. NATO member France and UK are the only countries with nuclear capabilities after the US. France does not participate in NATO’s nuclear planning group. “NATO has a nuclear deterrent, and this has worked for decades,” Stoltenberg told the meeting. “We should not do anything to undermine that. That will only create more uncertainty and more room for miscalculation and misunderstanding,” he added.

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Published February 15th, 2024 at 19:24 IST