World Bulletin / News Desk
NATO defence ministers gathered for talks Wednesday amid US concerns over the EU's landmark defence cooperation pact and increasingly strained relations between Washington and Turkey.
The two-day meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels is expected to approve changes to NATO's command structure aimed at making the alliance fit for the challenges of warfare in the 21st century, particularly cyber tactics and hybrid warfare, as fears grow about Russian assertiveness.
But a working dinner with EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini later Wednesday has taken on greater significance after senior US officials voiced fears about the bloc's defence pact.
Despite concerns from the alliance's biggest power, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the right balance could be struck.
"Done in the right way, these efforts can make a contribution to fairer burden-sharing between Europe and North America," Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for talks with NATO defence ministers on Wednesday.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged allies to increase their share of spending to ease Washington's burden.
On Tuesday Stoltenberg said efforts to boost EU defence spending were welcome, but only if they were coordinated with NATO plans, warning there was "no way" the EU could replace the transatlantic alliance in guaranteeing European security.
"It will be absolutely without any meaning if NATO and the EU start to compete," the former Norwegian premier told reporters.
"European allies are absolutely aware that the defence, the protection of Europe is dependent on NATO."
The EU's so-called permanent structured cooperation on defence agreement, known as PESCO, has projects in view already to develop new military equipment and improve cooperation and decision-making.
But on Sunday a senior official working with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington had concerns some of the proposed initiatives risked "pulling resources or capabilities away from NATO".
For 9th Friday in row, Palestinians demonstrate near Gaza-Israel security fence despite risk of violent Israeli response
Baghdad says strikes are pre-approved by regime in Damascus
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming Anchorage Correctional Complex had violated constitutional prohibitions against "cruel and unusual punishment."
Turkmen, Arabs in oil-rich Kirkuk say results of May 12 parliamentary poll were manipulated, demand recount
Use of electronic voting machines in Iraq’s May 12 polls has led to allegations of electoral fraud
Mahmoud Abbas last year reduced salaries of 60,000 Gaza-based Palestinian Authority employees
'This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,' Trump writes in letter
'Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!', one student shouted during her speech at a Texas university
Israel's West Bank settlements are illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
An Iraqi refugee baby died as Belgian police was chasing a vehicle carrying illegal migrants
'If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,' American president says
Haidar al-Abadi says agreement reached with winning coalition bloc
Controversial picture of Haram al-Sharif circulates on social media