US commitment to NATO is 'iron-clad'

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – The U.S. commitment to NATO is "iron-clad", U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Tuesday in a bid to reassure its European allies.

"Actions speak loudest," Mattis said at at a joint news conference with French Defense Minister Florence Parly in Paris. "The U.S. has acted showing that our commitment to the transatlantic alliance remains iron-clad," he said.

He stressed that U.S. lawmakers have not cut military spending in Europe "by a single cent, instead maintaining once again the highest levels of commitment since the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall".

Mattis added his country will not reduce its support for the French-led military operations against militants in Mali. "We have no intention of cutting back one bit on that support," he said.

Parly said: "Europe is not part of the problem, Europe is part of the solution."

"The U.S. is making sharing the burden a priority. It is also a French priority," she said.

"It's a question of making the whole Atlantic alliance function better."

Mattis' visit to France comes a day ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

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