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NATO summit: Europe skeptical about Tillerson-Russia meet

Trump weighs lifting Russia sanctions

It is still uncertain if US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends North Atlantic Treaty organisation (NATO) summit which is scheduled for 5-6 April 2017 and there is still more anxiety among the allies of United States about the Trump’s administration commitment to the 70 years old alliance because at the same time he will be meeting China’s core leader  and Russian authorities.

It is also speculated that NATO foreign ministers have rescheduled the meeting on March 31 to accommodate the US secretary of State. As US plays a leading role in the alliance its presence is therefore incumbent.

There exists unanswered questions about how Trump will reconcile his desire to have better ties with Moscow and at the same time support NATO which aims at securing Europe against the growing Russian threat especially in the context of Baltic region.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to visit Trump at his Florida golf resort in 6-7 April and Tillerson will also be attending that meeting.

The two important summits of NATO and US-Russia meet  come after Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Donald Trump, US President after summing up the meet,took to twitter  to claim that germany owes ” vast sums of money to NATO and the United States” reminding his allies that US allies will have to foot their bills for their security.

During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Merkel, Trump reiterated the US commitment to NATO but said allies must pay their fare share for defence.

Moreover The relationship between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Michael Flynn with Russia will also cast shadows and create distrust and suspicion in the European alliance.

Nato Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said that NATO is adopting to adapting to the change circumstances  and has transformed itself to meet the challenges of the world including Islamic State terrorism. Hungarian troops will be deployed to the Baltics in 2017 and support the alliance Multinational Framework Brigade in Romania as part of Forward Presence in the Black Sea region.

NATO considers Baltic Sea region the coming target of Russia’s aggression. Russia has meantime announced its intention to maintain a military presence in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Russia’s Maritime Doctrine, The Atlantic regional direction encompasses the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Azov Sea and the Mediterranean.

On the issue of Paying for the alliance, all NATO countries including Germany have committed  to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024 and 5 out of 28 NATO countries agree to do so. Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Romania is on track to spend 2% target in 2017 while Lithuania and Latvia are expected to follow suit by 2018.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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