Pompeo Dives in at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on 1st Trip as Top US Diplomat

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Noting that the talks were the first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial meeting since Russian agents allegedly used a nerve agent to poison a former double agent in the English town of Salisbury, Britain´s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson summarised the dilemma.

"Nato should not return to business as usual with Russian Federation until Moscow shows a clear change in its actions and complies with worldwide law".

"So, this is something new and, therefore, it is even more important that we are able to combine both to be firm to be strong and to have a clear message and convey unity in our approach to Russian Federation but at the same time keep the chance for dialogue open".

The alliance remains open to talks with Russian Federation, the secretary general said, and the channels must remain open especially when tensions on the continent are high.

Pompeo was welcomed by NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, who congratulated the new USA diplomat.

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Pompeo pressed allies to increase their military budgets to meet a target of 2% of economic output spent on defence every year by 2024, as well as ensuring 20% of the outlay is on equipment, a United States official said.

"We are in a situation where we've not been before", Stoltenberg said after the meeting.

Even before his confirmation on Thursday, the former Central Intelligence Agency director was already involved in US diplomacy, although it will be his first meeting at NATO, an organisation founded on collective defence against the threat from the former Soviet Union.

The commitment was made in 2014 and thus far only six of the 28 countries that made the pledge meet the goal.

No sooner had his appointment been confirmed by the US Senate on Thursday than Mr Pompeo, chosen by the President, Donald Trump, to head up US Foreign Affairs, took off for Belgium.

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Discussions will also be held on other key global issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, a training mission for Iraq, closer cooperation with the European Union and the prospects for peace in Afghanistan.

"We agreed that our dual-track policy of strong deterrence and defence combined with meaningful dialogue is the right one", Stoltenberg said.

Russian Federation also agreed to provide technological know-how for the production of a new generation of Turkish air defense systems.

"I did come straight away, I was sworn in yesterday and I hopped on a plane", Pompeo told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he arrived.

He is later set to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan and start his first full day of work at the State Department next week, Nauert added.

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