North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief warns European Union over defense pact


"With the right forces, in the right place, at the right time", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference after the first day of NATO Defence Ministers meeting this evening.

NATO Defence Ministers will decide in June on timelines, the locations of the new commands, and the increased staff levels that will be required.

"He insisted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies show the same kind of commitment", said a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official present at the closed-door meeting of defence ministers at the alliance headquarters.

They also chose to establish a new support command to improve the movement of troops in Europe and boost troop rapid response while creating a new operations centre to defend against cyber attacks in Mons, Belgium. "Improving the movement of troops and equipment is essential to our collective deterrence and defense", he added.

At the Wales Summit in 2014, the allies agreed to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Stoltenberg said the allies must boost "cash, capabilities and contributions" all together, adding: "It s not either one or the other".

The NATO head also said he expected the alliance's defense ministers to start planning for a bigger mission at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, Reuters reports.

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In a bid to bolster Europe's military strength, European governments have come up with 17 projects that mark the first use of EU-treaty provisions on enhanced security and defense cooperation among member countries.

A diplomatic source said that while the row was "a topic of concern for NATO", it was not a matter for the alliance to resolve. "It's not an alternative and it's not going to compete with NATO and, therefore, I welcomed the efforts to strengthen European defense and the EU efforts because I think that can strengthen NATO; it can strengthen Europe and the European Union, and by providing stronger European defense we can strengthen the European pillar within NATO and this has been clearly stated again and again also from European leaders".

But on Sunday a senior official working with Mattis said Washington had concerns that some of the proposed initiatives risked "pulling resources or capabilities away from NATO".

On Jan. 17, the USA -led coalition announced plans to build a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US -backed group composed mainly of the YPG, which Ankara sees as a terror organization for its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Mattis is to meet his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the meeting on Wednesday and Stoltenberg welcomed the fact that Turkey and the United States were talking directly.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.