Tense Russia ties, Afghan peace hopes top North Atlantic Treaty Organisation agenda

Europe and Eurasia: Remarks With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Before Their Meeting

In a closed door meeting, Pompeo and fellow foreign ministers of the military pact forged a consensus on the need for a response to "Russian aggression", a USA official said, adding that Pompeo pressed allies to raise military budgets.

Pompeo pressed allies to increase their military budgets to meet a target of 2% of economic output spent on defence every year by 2024, as well as ensuring 20% of the outlay is on equipment, a USA official said.

"He [Pompeo] was able to address. the foreign ministers of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation just 12 hours and 34 minutes after his confirmation", Stoltenberg said.

Mr Pompeo said that among the allies there was "enormous consensus of the risk that it poses to the West (and) a real commitment to work together to mitigate to those risks and to deter them".

Welcoming former Central Intelligence Agency chief Pompeo to the NATO headquarters less than 24 hours after the top United States diplomat was sworn in, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of the need to adapt the 29-member Western alliance "to a more demanding security environment".

According to the report, officials of the US-led military alliance have also warned Ankara about unspecified consequences of purchasing the S-400, insisting that the system is incompatible with the NATO's systems.

More news: Energy markets mixed on higher United States crude oil inventories

"When tensions are high, our dialogue is more important than ever", he added, saying the alliance was working for another meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. That commitment was made in 2014 and thus far only six of the 28 countries who made the pledge meet the goal. "It reconfirms the commitment of the U.S. and President Trump to the transatlantic bond".

The foreign ministers also agreed on the outlines of a training mission to Iraq to be launched in July. Relations with the latter are notably strained.

Russian Federation also agreed to provide technological know-how for the production of a new generation of Turkish air defense systems.

Mr Pompeo arrived in Brussels about 12 hours after he was sworn in as secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, fired by Mr Trump last month.

Pompeo will then travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli and Jordanian leaders to discuss regional and bilateral issues. The embassy move is deeply opposed by the Palestinians, who on May 15 will mark the anniversary of what they term the "nabka", or catastrophe, when they fled or were driven from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war.

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