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Jens Stoltenberg: NATO Allies Eye 4.3% Rise in 2017 Defense Spending

Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said NATO member states plan a 4.3 percent increase in military spending this year amid President Donald Trump’s call for allies to pay more for their own defense, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

“I welcome the strong focus of President Trump on defense spending and burden sharing, because it is important that we deliver,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference Wednesday in Brussels.

“European allies should invest more in defense not only to please the United States, but they should invest more in defense because it is in their own interests.”

The spending increase planned for 2017 reflects a $12 billion rise from the 2016 levels.

NATO announced Wednesday that only five out of 29 member states met their defense spending goals in 2018.

Romania plans to reach its spending target this year, with Latvia and Lithuania to follow suit in 2018.

Reuters also reported that NATO member countries plan to develop national plans that would detail how they will meet the defense spending levels at 2 percent of their gross domestic product by 2024, acquire new weapon systems and track warfighters’ contributions to missions.

Stoltenberg said alliance members would allocate the increase in defense budget to military training and exercises, pensions, salaries, equipment and efforts to accelerate NATO troop deployment, the report added.

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