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NATO: US and Europe need each other

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has written a UK newspaper column stressing the importance of collective NATO defense. Donald Trump hinted on the campaign trail that he'd call for more military spending from Europe.

NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg warned on Sunday that the US and Europe are inextricably linked when it comes to defense. The secretary-general wrote in "The Observer" newspaper that considering the world's precarious security situation, this was "no time to question the value of the partnership" between countries on either side of the Atlantic.

Although the op-ed article does not mention the US president-elect by name, Donald Trump famously vowed on the campaign trail not to support allies who do not pay their dues to the defensive union. Many member nations have struggled to meet the military spending target of 2 percent of GDP that is obligatory under the organization's treaty.

Stoltenberg took the opportunity to remind the Republican leader that NATO had never hesitated to support the US in its time of need. "The only time NATO has invoked its self-defense clause, that an attack on one is an attack on all, was in support of the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

He did, however, admit that the US could not be expected to carry the financial burden alone. "We need Europeans to shoulder their fair share of the burden," the former Norwegian prime minister wrote.

"Going it alone is not an option, either for Europe or for the United States," he added.

Stoltenberg's article came ahead of an EU summit in Brussels to discuss the Trump victory. The bloc's foreign ministers are set to gather for informal talks on the future of US-EU relations after the unexpected election result.

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es/rc (AP, Reuters)

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