News 14 february — 17:15

NATO Says More Members Plan To Reach Spending Goal By 2024

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Fifteen of NATO's 29 members have laid out plans to meet the alliance's defense spending goal by 2024, overall increasing spending by $46 billion, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, RFE/RL reports.

"This is substantial progress, and a good start," he said on February 13 ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels this week. "After years of decline, since 2014 we have seen three years of increasing defense spending across European allies and Canada."

Stoltenberg's comments come as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to pressure U.S. allies in Europe to increase military spending to levels targeted by NATO, fulfilling a key commitment sought by U.S. President Donald Trump.

NATO has set a goal of each member spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, but until recently only a few of NATO's 29 members met that target.

Stoltenberg said that in 2014, only three allies met the goal, but the number has increased to eight this year. The increase in the last four years has added $19 billion to spending on weapons and equipment for the alliance, he said.

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