Secretary General welcomes US Vice President to NATO headquarters
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed US Vice President Mike Pence to NATO Headquarters on Monday (20 February 2017), and thanked him for America’s unwavering commitment to the transatlantic bond.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed the partnership between Europe and North America, embodied in the NATO Alliance, remains vital today. He underlined the deployment of American troops to Europe as a key US contribution to Europe’s security. Allies face the biggest security challenges in a generation and “we are stronger when we stand together,” said the Secretary General.
The only time NATO has invoked its collective defence clause was in support of the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During their talks, The Secretary General and the Vice President discussed the progress made in the fight against terrorism. Mr. Stoltenberg recalled that NATO is training security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and supports the US-led Coalition against ISIL with AWACS surveillance planes. Mr. Stoltenberg and Vice President Pence agreed NATO can do even more in the fight against terrorism.
The Secretary General and the Vice President agreed on the importance of higher defence spending and fairer burden-sharing in NATO. Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that this has been his top priority since he took office and it is essential Allies continue to increase their efforts to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence. “Europeans cannot ask the United States to commit to Europe’s defence if they are not willing to commit more themselves. And they are committing more,” he said. The Secretary General said he looked forward to welcoming President Trump to Brussels in May for the NATO Summit.