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Pompeo: NATO 'more indispensable than ever' in light of Russian Federation threat

30 April 2018

As a meeting of alliance foreign ministers put on a united front on the need to counter Russian "aggression", Pompeo hammered home one of Trump's oldest themes - demanding that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members pay their way.

Even before his confirmation on Thursday, the former Central Intelligence Agency director was already involved in United States diplomacy, although this is first meeting at Nato, an organisation founded on defence against the threat from the former Soviet Union.

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. "We're not in the old Cold War, but we're neither in the strategic partnership we were trying to build after the Cold War".

Friday's meeting will be the last such ministerial meeting to be held in the former Brussels NATO headquarters.

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Turkish leaders have said they are buying the Russian weapons system in part to counter "threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq".

Pompeo will also press members of the alliance to increase their military budgets to meet a target of 2 percent of economic output on defence every year by 2024, the official said. "Therefore it's even more important that we are able to combine, both to be strong and to have a clear position of unity in our approach to Russian Federation but at the same time to keep the channels for dialogue open". That commitment was made in 2014 and thus far only six of the 28 countries who made the pledge meet the goal.

Trump sent Pompeo to North Korea three weeks ago to meet the isolated country's leader, Kim Jong Un, ahead of a summit with the USA president to address Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

The head of NATO's cyber defense unit, Christian-Marc Liflander said that the S-400 system is not compatible with the air defense systems now used by the alliance.

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The foreign ministers also agreed on the outlines of a training mission to Iraq to be launched in July.

After his time in Brussels, Pompeo will head to the Middle East, with stops in Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - countries chosen to reflect what his spokeswoman called "importance as key allies and partners in the region".

"I did come straight away, I was sworn in yesterday and I hopped on a plane", Pompeo told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he arrived.

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Pompeo: NATO 'more indispensable than ever' in light of Russian Federation threat