The US Defense Minister Mark Esper on Friday reiterated the US call on NATO allies to spend 2% of their GDP on security and defense.

“We’ll be discussing everything from Afghanistan to COVID response, to the important issues. Also, it means improving NATO readiness and to continue to urge all of our allies to meet their target goal of 2% of GDP,” said Esper in a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

“We’ve moved a good distance here in the last few years, but there’s much more we need to do to ensure our collective security,” he added.

Stoltenberg, for his part, said: “We have many issues to discuss. Our preparations to deal with a possible second wave of COVID-19 are on track.”

“Our countries must continue to invest to keep them strong. And ensure that this health crisis does not turn into a security crisis. Because the security challenges we faced before the pandemic have not disappeared,” he added.

Stoltenberg said they will discuss Russia’s new missiles, China’s inclusion to the global arms control and will also follow up the discussion on Afghanistan.

“We welcome the talks between the United States and Russia on arms control.

And we agree that, as a rising global power, it is high time for China to take part in global arms control,” he said.

“We will also follow up on our discussion on Afghanistan. NATO will continue to adjust our presence in support of the peace process. This will be done in close coordination with Allies and partners,” the NATO chief added.

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