President Trump to meet Nato leaders in May: White House

US President Donald Trump expressed "strong support for Nato" but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump expressed "strong support for Nato" but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement. PHOTO: NYTIMES

PALM BEACH (AFP) - Mr Donald Trump will meet fellow Nato leaders in May, the White House said on Sunday (Feb 5) after the president's call with the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Mr Trump expressed "strong support for Nato" but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement, adding that Mr Trump "agreed to join in a meeting of Nato leaders in Europe in late May."

"The parties agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing Nato," the White House statement said.

The US provides significant funding to Nato, and Mr Trump has previously urged other member nations to step up their contributions.

"The leaders discussed how to encourage all Nato allies to meet their defence spending commitments," the statement added.

European leaders are concerned about Mr Trump's virulent criticism of Nato - he has dubbed the transatlantic military alliance "obsolete" - at a time when it stands as the main defense against Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

According to the White House statement, the parties also discussed "the potential for a peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border."

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of supporting eastern Ukrainian rebels and deploying troops across the border, claims that Moscow refutes.

Mr Trump's friendly stance toward Mr Putin has been under scrutiny since he won the US election in November.

Mr Trump took office with US-Russian ties at new lows amid accusations by American intelligence agencies that the Kremlin hacked Democratic Party emails as part of a pro-Trump campaign to influence the election.