NATO Chief: Alliance Will Join Coalition Against Islamic State, but May Not Engage in Combat

US President Donald Trump (L) listens to a speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the unveiling ceremony of the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, on May 25, 2017, during a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL AND BELGA / Christophe LICOPPE (Photo credit …
CHRISTOPHE LICOPPE/AFP/Getty Images

The chief of NATO, ahead of American President Donald Trump’s speech, said the alliance would join the U.S.-led coalition combating the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but it may not “engage in combat operations.”

Joining the anti-ISIS fight “will send a strong political message of NATO’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and also improve our coordination within the coalition,” declared Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, according to the Associated Press (AP).

However, the head of NATO stressed that “it does not mean that NATO will engage in combat operations.”

NATO will establish a counterterrorism intelligence unit to improve information-sharing, indicated the secretary-general.

Citing the recent jihadi massacre in Manchester, England, during his address to allied leaders, President Trump urged the NATO members to do more to fight terrorism, telling them:

Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks, or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever. You have thousands and thousands of people pouring into our various countries and spreading throughout, and in many cases, we have no idea who they are. We must be tough. We must be strong. And we must be vigilant.

The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration, as well as threats from Russia and on NATO’s eastern and southern borders.

Trump also urged the NATO countries to pay their fair share for their own defense.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years,” declared the U.S. commander-in-chief. “Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined.”

“We should recognize that with these chronic underpayments and growing threats, even [the required] 2 percent of GDP is insufficient to close the gaps in modernizing, readiness, and the size of forces,” he added later. “We have to make up for the many years lost. Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats.”

President Trump made those comments in front of the new NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.

“I have been very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the alliance in saying NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” said the president. “But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense.”

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