NATO has met for the first time since the new US administration led by President Biden took office. New US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin attended that videoconference for the first time.
The Dutch news agency quoted Bielefeld, the outgoing Dutch Defense Minister, as saying after the meeting that Austin is adopting a “constructive and calm tone.”
Bielefeld said the American stressed the importance of unity in the coalition and the commitment of the United States. Austin took a more positive tone than the previous US administration, according to the minister.
Bielefeld said: “It is also positive that President Biden has given guarantees on Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.” This article states that an attack on a member state is an attack on all member states.
Americans are still behind the NATO rule that all member states spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense, something that Trump has struck several times during his presidency. For example, Trump announced that he would remove some American military personnel from Germany because Berlin had not committed to the defense budget.
Bielefeld said Austin was speaking on behalf of President Biden. “In the previous situation it was sometimes different and more difficult. Then we saw tweets that did not always correspond to what we heard.” Trump has also criticized his NATO allies several times during his presidency. He is also said to have considered taking the United States out of NATO.
Bielefeld has not yet personally spoken to her American colleague. “He’s still making his rounds,” she said. During the first video conference, he appeared as “a calm and balanced man”. He is a former soldier and he has a lot of knowledge. “
The two defense ministers will meet again tomorrow. Then, among other things, there will be talk of a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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