Mattis to NATO: Increase Military Spending or Else

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Earlier on Thursday, Mattis also seemed to shut the door on possible military ties between the USA and Russian Federation, although Trump has suggested that he would be open to joint action against Islamic State militants in Syria. This is revealed in a document sent by his department.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that the US will not cooperate militarily with Russian Federation until it complies with global law and that he believes the Kremlin had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

One topic Trump and Putin did not discuss on that phone call, at least according to the White House's readout, is Russia's habit of attempting to influence foreign elections.

In 2014, the year Russian Federation seized Crimea and backed separatists ia war that has killed more than 9,750 people in eastern Ukraine, NATO leaders committed to halt defense spending cuts and move toward raising their military budgets to 2 percent of GDP within a decade.

Mattis' blunt rejection of cooperation with Moscow came after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for increased intelligence cooperation with the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and makes such coordination less likely in the near future.

President Donald Trump, who directed Mattis to develop new options for defeating ISIS in late January, has also suggested the United States could coordinate with Russian forces to combat the terrorist group.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Canada and European allies recorded a $10 billion or 3.8 percent increase in defense spending in 2016, the report noted.

Other major allies - including France (1.78 percent), Turkey (1.56) and Italy (1.11) - are also below the mark.

In his speech to defense ministers, Mattis repeated a call made by previous United States secretaries of defense for European allies to spend more on their militaries. "Americans can not care more for your children's future security than you do", he said, according to a text of his intervention in the meeting.

"We remain open to opportunities to restore a cooperative relationship with Moscow, while being realistic in our expectations and ensuring our diplomats negotiate from a position of strength", he said. "So, we need to keep the momentum".

Mattis also told states concerned by Russia's general rearmament and its reinforcement of its southwestern flank that Washington wants dialogue with Moscow but "must at the same time defend ourselves if Russian Federation chooses to act contrary to global law".

"Frankly, this has no impact" on his own job as defense secretary, Mattis said in his first comments on the abrupt resignation late Monday night of Flynn.

"We all see our community of nations under threat on multiple fronts as the arc of instability builds on NATO's periphery and beyond", Mattis said.