US defence secretary tells Michael Fallon US support for Nato 'unshakeable'

Posted On: 
24th January 2017

The US defence secretary has reassured the British Government about the new administration’s “unshakeable commitment” to Nato. 

Donald Trump has made a series of critical comments about Nato
Maurizio Gambarini/DPA

Donald Trump has made a series of critical comments about the alliance, including branding it “obsolete” just before he became president last week.

But in a phone call with his British counterpart Michael Fallon, Secretary of Defense James Mattis underlined the US’s continued support for Nato.

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A Pentagon spokesman said Mr Mattis had “emphasised that the uniquely close relationship between the US and UK will continue and is reflected in defence ties that are a bedrock of US security”.

“Mattis also emphasized the United States' unshakeable commitment to Nato and thanked Fallon for his country’s commitment to contribute two percent of gross domestic product to defence and for the UK’s contributions to international security,” the spokesman added.

Theresa May has said she will discuss Nato with President Trump when she travels to Washington later this week.

After the Prime Minister spoke to Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday, a No 10 spokesperson said: “They discussed the continued importance of the alliance as the bulwark of our defence, and agreed on the need for the alliance to continue to evolve to be able to effectively counter the biggest threats of the day, in particular terrorism and cyber-attacks.

“The Prime Minister said she would be taking these messages to Washington later this week where she is expected to discuss NATO with President Trump.”

Mr Mattis also called Mr Stoltenberg yesterday in order to “reinforce the importance he places on the alliance”, the Pentagon said.