70 years of NATO

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NATO today is celebrating 70 years from when it was formed as a formal alliance between the territories of North America and Europe. From its inception, its main purpose was to defend each other from the possibility of communist Soviet Union taking control of their nation.

Considering the role NATO played in these last 70 years, the anniversary commemorations are rather low key, the highlight being the meeting being held in Washington and the speech by Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, to the US Congress.

Stoltenberg used his speech to give an impassioned defence of the 70-year-old Western alliance, a partnership he called “the most successful alliance in history,” which has often been derided by US President Donald Trump since he took office in 2017.

Click here for full text of NATO Secretary General address to the US Congress

Stoltenberg was the first leader of an international organization and the first Norwegian to be accorded the rare honour of such an address to the joint meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers an address to joint meeting of US Congress
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (front) gestures as US Vice President Mike Pence (L, back) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R, back) applaud during an address to a joint meeting of the US Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.. Secretary General Stoltenberg delivered his address ahead of the meeting of foreign ministers that is being held in Washington this week to mark the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. The Alliance was created 04 April, 1949, in Washington, DC.

Stoltenberg met on Tuesday with Trump, who said his pressure on NATO nations to pay more for their defence is leading to tens of billions of dollars more in contributions, but the allies may need to boost their budgets even more.

Trump is not the first U.S. leader to call for NATO members to do more to defend their countries. President Barack Obama also pressed allies to spend more on defence. Other presidents have done so as well.

Via VOA, Reuters and NATO

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