US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon on 21 March 2017.In his welcoming remarks,Mr.Mattis said:
We have a very strong trans-Atlantic bond.It's getting stronger.Relationships don't stay the same.They're always changing.In this case,the bond is getting stronger.It's built on a legacy of common commitments and common defence,and we never forget that in this building.*
In his reply,Secretary General Stoltenberg responded by saying:
It's great to be here in Washington and to meet with you.And I also commend you for your strong personal support and leadership when it comes to NATO and the trans-Atlantic bond.I think we really saw that when you met with all the defence Allies during the Defence Ministerial meeting in Brussels.Then you expressed a strong support for the trans-Atlantic unity,the trans-Atlantic bond,and the NATO Alliance.And we are very grateful for that.
I think that in times of turmoil,in times of uncertainty,the need for strong international institutions such as NATO is even greater.So therefore we need to adapt.We need to strengthen NATO in response to the challenges and the unpredictability we see surrounding us today.*
Following their talks,Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis,US Navy,shared a readout of the meeting.The two leaders discussed the key role the Alliance plays in trans-Atlantic security and to review preparations for the upcoming special meeting of NATO heads of state and government,Captain Davis noted.They also discussed ways to encourage Allies to assume a more equitable share of Alliance security and defence responsibilities.Mr.Mattis thanked Mr.Stoltenberg for his leadership on this issue,and applauded those Allies already meeting the benchmark of spending two percent of their countrys' GDP on defence.
The two leaders also discussed NATO's role in fighting terrorism and defeating ISIL,as well as NATO's missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.Both pledged to consult in the coming months and said they look forward to meeting again at the next NATO Defence Ministerial conference,Captain Davis added.