- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2017

In his first phone call with the head of NATO, President Trump on Sunday discussed ways to “encourage” other members of the alliance to pay their fair share, the White House said.

In a carefully worded statement, the White House said Mr. Trump spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “about the United States’ strong support for NATO.”

“The leaders discussed how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments,” the White House said.

Mr. Trump agreed to attend a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in late May.

During the campaign last year, Mr. Trump raised questions about the U.S. commitment to the alliance, and noted that most of the 28 nations don’t pay the requested 2 percent of gross domestic product for membership. He has said the U.S. is carrying too much of the burden for the organization, which is based in Brussels, Belgium.

The White House said Mr. Trump and Mr. Stoltenberg also discussed “the potential for a peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border.” Russian-backed separatists have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014.

“The parties agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing NATO,” the White House said.

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