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On his first official trip since becoming US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo traveled to Belgium Friday for talks with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"From Ukraine to Syria - and now the [United Kingdom] - Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens", Tillerson said in early March.

"NATO is wonderful, but it helps Europe more than it helps us", Trump said ahead of his meeting with the German leader.

"When tensions are high, our dialogue is more important than ever", he added, saying the alliance was working for another meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

His words of support for the alliance are a boost after Donald Trump's early rebuke and his appearance in Brussels comes ahead of a July summit where North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders are set to agree a stronger deterrent to Russian Federation; a country Washington has firmly in its sights. And for me, that's a great expression of the importance of the alliance and the importance you attach to that - to the alliance.

"There was consensus on Russian aggression, the scale of Russian aggression and this being a problem that requires a response", the senior official said.

"No", Mr Pompeo replied bluntly when asked if Germany's efforts to increase defence spending have been satisfactory. "We told him we needed these systems".




Meanwhile, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated on Friday that purchasing the Russian air defense system "is Turkey's national decision", urging Washington to hold a dialogue with Ankara, Turkey-based Daily Sabah reported.

Luxembourg s veteran Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told AFP Pompeo had got his point across without causing upset.

"On the contrary he was attentive, he listened and took part in all the discussions".

Pompeo's comments on Russian Federation are particularly notable as President Donald Trump has often soft-pedaled criticism of the country and its President, Vladimir Putin, despite United States intelligence assessments that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election.

The NATO ministers also agreed on the need for member countries to meet their commitments to defense spending, an action President Donald Trump has strongly called on them to take. The mission will have "several hundred personnel", Stoltenberg noted.

After his time in Brussels, Pompeo will head to the Middle East, with stops in Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - countries chosen to reflect what his spokeswoman called "importance as key allies and partners in the region".


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