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Tuesday 19.03.2019 | Name days: Jāzeps

US President asks allies to increase defence expenditures to 4% of GDP

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDuring NATO summit in Brussels US President Donald Trump told leaders of participating member states that they have to increase their expenditures on defence to 4% of GDP.

«During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4%,» said White House press-secretary Sarah Sanders.

She added that Donald Trump wants allies to take on a larger portion of the total defence expenditures burden or at least realize the previously made promise.

According to current military expenditures tendencies, it is likely the goal of 2% of GDP will have been reached by only half of the alliance’s member states by 2024.

Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said after the first NATO summit session that Latvia should allocate more than 2% of GDP to its defence.

According to the minister, discussions passed calmly and constructively during the first session of the summit. He added that all previously prepared decisions important for the defence of Baltic States were approved.

Rinkēvičs said discussions regarding alliance member states’ funding for defence were serious, «but not nearly as dramatic as the public space would have us believe».

«Discussions about defence funding will not end with this summit. It is clear Latvia will have to increase funding for defence, which is current set at 2% of GDP. Larger investments are needed to strengthen NATO and EU defences. These matters are of great interest to Latvia’s security,» said the minister.

Rinkēvičs added that he had warmed Latvia’s government about the need to increase funding for the country’s defence. However, there have been no political discussions so far.

«Someone might say that we have completed out commitment on paper, and that it is necessary to divert funding to other fields. But we live in a world where we have to take responsibility for our own security,» said the minister.

He believes discussions about increasing Latvia’s defence budget should commence simultaneously with talks about next year’s state budget. Nevertheless, it does not meal defence budget should be increased in the next two years.


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