Donald Trump and head of Nato agree on 'enduring importance' of the alliance

The two leaders say progress made on fairer burden-sharing - alluding to the fact the US spends more on defence than Europe

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US President-elect Donald Trump and Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have agreed on the “enduring importance” of the alliance.

The two leaders also said progress had been made on fairer burden-sharing but insisted there is still “more to do”, according to a statement released by Nato.

Mr Stoltenberg congratulated the President-elect on his victory in the US election during a phone call and thanked Mr Trump for raising the issue of defence spending during his campaign. 

“The President-elect and the Secretary General both underlined Nato's enduring importance, and discussed how Nato is adapting to the new security environment, including to counter the threat of terrorism,” the statement said.

“The Secretary General said he looked forward to welcoming President-elect Trump to Brussels for the Nato Summit next year to discuss the way forward with Allied Heads of State and Government.”

During the campaign period Mr Trump had suggested military support from the US was dependent on how much European allies spent on their defence budgets.  

Mr Trump also suggested closer ties with Russia and Vladimir Putin but the former Secretary-General of Nato urged the Preisdent-elect not to do so, saying it could lead to the “the beginning of the end” of the US-led system. 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was in charge of the alliance from 2009 to 2014, said Vladimir Putin “only respects a firm hand” and therefore Mr Trump must show “strength”.