Trump proposes ‘NATOME’: NATO expanded to MidEast
Trump advocates NATO expansion into the Middle East
President urges to involve more countries in the fight against IS
US President Donald Trump has said he is in favor of expanding NATO’s scope of activities to the Middle East, while the United States seeks to reduce its military presence overseas.
“I believe NATO should expand and we should include the Middle East,” the president said at the White House. “At the moment, the burden is on us, and it’s not fair.”.
Trump stressed that the Islamic State group is an international problem, in the fight against which other countries should also participate. “We can go home, for the most part, and use NATO,” he said. “We caught IS, we did Europe a great service”.
Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO, insisting that Europe should make a greater contribution to collective defense and make concessions to the United States on trade..
The president jokingly proposed to rename the alliance to NATO-BV (NATO plus the Middle East).
Trump said he voiced the idea in a telephone conversation with Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday..
The alliance was formed in 1949 to defend the North Atlantic region from the Soviet Union. The Brussels-based organization originally had 12 members but has since grown to 29.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Stoltenberg on Thursday to discuss Iranian strikes and stressed that Trump wants the alliance to play a more active role in the Middle East, according to the State Department..
According to the ministry’s statement, Pompeo and Stoltenberg “noted that the alliance could make a more significant contribution to regional security and the fight against international terrorism.”.
It is also noted that Pompeo and Stoltenberg condemned the “destabilizing violence” by Iran and stressed “commitment to the fight against international terrorism, including through NATO’s participation in the International Coalition against ISIS and training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”.
According to the White House, Trump, in a conversation with Stoltenberg, “emphasized the importance of strengthening NATO’s role in conflict prevention and peacekeeping in the Middle East.”.
US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson said on Thursday that the fight against the Islamic State is of great importance for both the United States and its NATO allies.
“I think the president would like to see more of our allies working with us in Iraq,” she told CNBC. “This will need to be discussed in the North Atlantic Council and decided that more effort needs to be made.”.