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NATO Leaders Set To Meet In July 2018

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

U.S. President Donald Trump and his NATO counterparts will meet for a summit in Brussels in July 2018.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on October 20 that the summit will be held at the alliance's new headquarters near the Brussels airport on July 11-12.

Stoltenberg said the meeting will strengthen "the bond between Europe and North America on which our alliance is founded, as we continue to adapt our alliance for the 21st century."

Trump rebuked fellow NATO leaders at their last meeting in May for failing to meet NATO's military spending benchmarks and leaving much of the burden to U.S. taxpayers.

"In response to evolving threats, NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense in a generation," Stoltenberg said in a statement announcing the summit dates.

Stoltenberg's announcement comes amid growing concern about Russia's stepped-up assertiveness, particularly in the areas of hybrid and cyberwarfare.

NATO has deployed around 4,000 international troops to the Baltic states and Poland to counter the threat to the alliance's eastern flank, particularly since the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

"Our multinational battle groups in the east of the alliance are now fully operational and we are strengthening our presence in the Black Sea region," Stoltenberg added.

The summit will also discuss the fight against terrorism.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP