NATO chief: US allies to spend $12 billion more this year

US House overwhelmingly backs NATO mutual defense

"That is three consecutive years of accelerating defense spending", Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a defense ministers' meeting in Brussels. Of NATO's 29 members, only the U.S., Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia now meet or exceed the target.

Stoltenberg said he would expound the details of each ally's defence spending in Thursday's meeting.

Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, recalled that the 28 allies had pledged at a 2014 summit in Wales to increase defense spending to the equivalent of two percent of annual economic output within a decade.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Wednesday repeated the USA commitment, speaking alongside his German counterpart, Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen. But Stoltenberg said Romania was set to join them this year, and Latvia and Lithuania in 2018.

This week's defense ministerial meeting is the first gathering of senior North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials since a leaders' meeting last month where Trump publicly berated his colleagues during a ceremony to open the alliance's new headquarters. Spending growth was 1.8 pct in 2015 and 3.3 percent previous year, although it was unclear how near that takes members to the target.

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The vote was 423-4 in the House, where Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 48-seat majority, for a resolution "solemnly reaffirming" the USA commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. He also pointed to a 42 percent increase in Trump's budget request for European military spending.

Numerous 2017 spending decisions were made prior to the 2016 presidential election.

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO's chief says US allies are projected to spend around $12 billion more on defense this year, after President Donald Trump berated them for failing to boost military budgets.

"At the same time, I also underline that allies should invest more in defense not to please the United States but because it is in their own interest and they have made the commitment".

Von der Leyen, the German defense minister, said Wednesday that her country was working toward the spending goal. "If we want to have stability in the neighboring regions we have to take responsibility for it".

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