Trump to welcome NATO chief to White House next week

Trump to welcome NATO chief to White House next week
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE will welcome NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the White House next week, ahead of the alliance's annual summit in July.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the May 17 visit by Stoltenberg will focus on the upcoming NATO Summit, the alliance's role in combatting terrorism and "the need for fair-burden sharing."

Trump has repeatedly complained that the U.S. shoulders too much of the financial burden of NATO and has called on member states to increase military funding to meet the alliance's spending goals.

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NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward spending at least 2 percent of their respective gross domestic products on defense by 2024.

Trump's upcoming meeting with Stoltenberg also comes following the president's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal — a move that frustrated Washington's European allies, who urged Trump to remain in the pact.

Trump has had a rocky relationship with NATO, at times. Last year, he faced scrutiny after he failed to reaffirm the alliance's mutual defense pledge, which holds that NATO members must come to the defense of other alliance members if necessary.

That pledge was upheld by past U.S. presidents. Trump later said that the U.S. remained committed to NATO's mutual defense provision.