US President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington on Thursday. Pic/AFP
Washington: In a major U-turn, President Donald Trump has said that NATO is "no longer obsolete" and reaffirmed his commitment to the military alliance as tensions rose between the US and Russia over Syria.
"I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete," Trump told reporters at a joint White House news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
"It's my hope that NATO will take on an increased role in supporting our Iraqi partners in their battle against the ISIS," he said about NATO, which was formed in 1949.
Trump had repeatedly questioned the value of the alliance and made overtures to Russia during his presidential campaign. Trump also alluded that America's relationship with Russia "may be at an all-time low". "Right now we are not getting along with Russia at all," Trump said, adding, "It would be wonderful... if NATO and our country could get along with Russia."
Russia miffed with Montenegro in NATO
Russia's foreign ministry yesterday called the approval by the US of Montenegro's accession to NATO a "deeply mistaken" move that creates divisions in Europe. It said that the decision by Trump "reflects the logic of confrontation on the European continent and creates new dividing lines."