Mike Pompeo, the new US secretary of state, pointed to Germany on Friday for defense spending, using its first NATO meeting to pressure President Donald Trump to ally himself with a greater burden.
in a united front on the need to counteract Russian "aggression", Pompeo stressed one of Trump's oldest issues: demand that NATO members pay.
Some allies, including the economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany, have been reluctant to compromise made at a NATO summit in Wales in September 2014 to spend two percent of GDP on defense by 2024.
Trump has repeatedly stated that this amounts to countries that do not pay their quotas, and the former CIA head Pompeo conveyed a harsh message to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
When asked if Germany was doing enough to fulfill the objective, Pompeo said bluntly: "No, they should meet the objectives they agreed upon".
"European nations must have the need" Pompeo's responsibilities for the security and defense of his fellow citizens is fundamental to fulfilling his defense obligations, "Pompeo told reporters after the meeting.
Pompeo's comments came when German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on her way to the White House for talks with Trump
– & # 39; Fulfilling our obligations & # 39; –
Her rigid language contrasted with what Veteran Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said it was a more diplomatic approach at the meeting.
"Mike Pompeo, of course, insisted on the need to share the burden, but he did it without aggression," he said. Asselborn to AFP
"On the contrary, he was attentive, he listened and he participated in all the discussions."
When he arrived for the talks The new German Foreign Minister ia, Heiko Maas, emphasized Berlin's contribution to humanitarian work in Syria and Iraq.
He said Merkel's coalition government was in the midst of budget negotiations, but there was little prospect that they would lead to a boost to defense spending.
And he stressed that Germany "has an extraordinary presence in terms of its perception of its international responsibility and that we are also fulfilling our obligations to NATO."
Far from the harsh words about funding, there was agreement among the foreign ministers on the need to counteract the adoption of "hybrid warfare" techniques – subversion, propaganda and cyber warfare – to undermine the West without trigger a full NATO military response.
Pompeo tried to calm persistent concerns over Trump's commitment to NATO, saying the alliance was "more indispensable than ever" due to Russia's "unacceptable" actions, from Georgia to Ukraine to political meddling.
Noting that the talks were the first NATO ministerial meeting since Russian agents allegedly used a nerve agent to poison a former double agent in the English town of Salisbury, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johns summed up the dilemma.
"How do you handle a military environment in which attacks are below the threshold of the commitment of Article 5 for mutual support, but a common response is required?" He asked, referring to the alliance's mutual self-defense pact.
– & # 39; Russian aggression & # 39; –
Ministers discussed concrete proposals to address the problem, a senior State Department official told reporters, but they are not expected to be finalized and announced before the full NATO summit on July 11 and 12.
"There was consensus on the Russian aggression, the scale of the Russian aggression and this is a problem that requires an answer," the official said.
Tensions between NATO and Russia are working at levels not seen since the Cold War, but NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg insisted that the alliance was still open to dialogue with Moscow.
"We agreed that our dual policy of strong deterrence and defense combined with meaningful dialogue is the right one," Stoltenberg said.
"When tensions are high, our dialogue is more important than ever," he added, adding that the alliance was working for another meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
Minister Plans were also discussed to expand the NATO training mission in Iraq. Details will be confirmed at the July summit, but Stoltenberg said it would involve several hundred personnel.
After his stay in Brussels, Pompeo will head to the Middle East, with stopovers in Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, countries chosen to reflect what his spokesman called "importance as key partners and partners in the region."
Mike Pompeo, the new US Secretary of State, pointed to Germany for its defense spending, using its first NATO meeting to pressure the president The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson share a joke before the opening of a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Brussels
The NATO ministerial meeting will be the last meeting to be held in the historic hall of the North Atlantic Council, as the alliance moves to a new headquarters  030]