NATO to decide whether to join anti-IS coalition before May 25 summit

NATO to decide whether to join anti-IS coalition before May 25 summit

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, on Thursday, said NATO military alliance would decide before its May 25 summit whether or not to join a military coalition against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Stoltenberg made this known alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

He said if the alliance joined the coalition in its own right, its current remit of contributing equipment, training and expertise would not change.

All 28 NATO member countries are individually part of the coalition, but the U.S. has been pushing the military alliance to take an official role in its own right.

Germany and other European allies were hesitant however about what would be a mainly symbolic step, with some expressing concern that it may escalate tensions with Russia.

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Merkel and Stoltenberg also spoke about the U.S.’ demand that member countries, especially Germany, met NATO’s defense, spending target of 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Stoltenberg said that the goal of putting a stop to military spending cuts in member countries had been achieved and that he was satisfied with the progress made by Germany and others to reach the 2-per-cent goal.

The military alliance is currently considering whether to send more troops to Afghanistan amid growing alarm among member states about the worsening security situation and territorial gains by the Taliban.

Stoltenberg said that it was likely that the number of troops in the country would be increased, but that no official decision had been made.

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Report says U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to attend the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25 as part of his first foreign trip. (dpa/NAN)

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