Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mattis: US-NATO Ties Getting Stronger |

Mattis: US-NATO Ties Getting Stronger | NATO is growing stronger with an increasing U.S. commitment despite allies' concerns over recent comments by President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday.

"We have a very strong trans-Atlantic bond," Mattis said at the start of a meeting at the Pentagon with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "It's getting stronger," he said, though "relationships don't stay the same" in the 28-member NATO alliance. "They are always changing," he said.

"In this case, the bond is getting stronger," Mattis added. "It's built on a legacy of common commitments and common defense and we never forget that in this building."

Stoltenberg ignored shouted questions for comment on reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would skip a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in April but will travel to Russia for high-level talks.

In a statement, Stoltenberg commended Mattis "for your strong personal support and leadership when it comes to NATO and the trans-Atlantic bond." The general's commitment was on display last month at the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels where Mattis pledged an enduring U.S. commitment to the common defense of Europe, Stoltenberg said. "We are very grateful for that," he said.