NATO Members Agree to Boost Contributions for Defense

NATO leaders said Wednesday they have agreed to contribute more money to their defense budget.

“We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership,” the military alliance said.

The announcement was made just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump renewed criticism of NATO for not contributing more to defend the nearly 70-year-old, 29-nation alliance.

The allied nations also urged world leaders to maintain “decisive pressure” on North Korea, including the full implementation of U.N. sanctions, to get Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. The alliance also reiterated its support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed at the June 12 summit with Trump in Singapore to move toward denuclearization, but has yet provide details of how and when his pledge would be achieved.

NATO members also expressed concern about an increase in Iran’s missile tests and said they were committed to “permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.”

The member nations also voiced concern about Russia’s recent actions, including the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, saying Moscow had reduced stability and security in the region.

NATO, which is meeting in Brussels, also agreed to invite Macedonia to begin talks to join the alliance.

Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Macedonia would be eligible to join provided the new name for the country that Macedonia and Greece agreed to was unanimously approved by existing members later this year.

Macedonia and Greece reached an agreement last month to rename Macedonia the Republic of North Macedonia, following a dispute over the name since 1991 that has damaged relations.

Greece has insisted on the name change because its northern province, which was the cradle of Alexander the Great’s empire, has the same name.

Source: Voice of America

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