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Jens Stoltenberg; Donald Trump

Russia, Austria welcome Trump’s questioning of NATO

Russian and Austrian officials welcomed president-elect Donald Trump’s remarks on NATO.

Published: January 17, 2017, 9:35 am

    Trump had called NATO “obsolete”.

    Dmitri S. Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday that “NATO is indeed a vestige,” according to Radio Free Europe.

    Considering that NATO “is focused on confrontation and its entire structure is devoted to the ideals of confrontation, then, of course, this can hardly be called a modern structure meeting the ideas of stability, sustainable development and security.” Peskov said.

    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has also welcomed Trump’s suggestions to restore relations with Moscow.

    “If new US stance results in the establishment of better relations between the United States and Russia… then it isn’t the issue of concern and vice versa – Europe and, especially, Austria could benefit directly from it,” Kurz told reporters.

    Trump created alarm in German en French leftist establishment circles however by describing NATO as obsolete in an interview published by the Times on Monday.

    NATO itself tried to calm the European elite, with spokeswoman Oana Lungescu saying that the bloc’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, was “absolutely confident that the incoming US administration will remain committed to NATO”.

    “A strong NATO is good for the US, just as it is for Europe,” Lungescu said, according to Reuters, saying that Stoltenberg and Trump have already discussed the president-elect’s demands for other members to increase their financial contributions.

    Angela Merkel ignored Trump’s remarks on the migration crisis she unleashed, telling reporters in Berlin “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands.”

    But Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his dismay at Trump’s remarks on NATO and called them “astonishing”.

    Last year Trump also stated that he would not feel bound by NATO’s collective doctrine in which an attack on any one of the 28 member countries would be regarded as an attack on all.





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