NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference after a meeting of the NATO-Russia council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Ambassadors from NATO and Russia met for the first time this year in a fresh attempt to resolve some of their differences. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

US to press NATO allies on counter-terror, defense budgets

March 31, 2017 - 3:18 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting his NATO counterparts to persuade them to do more to combat extremists and step up defense spending.

After advancing the talks a week to suit Tillerson's schedule, foreign ministers from Europe and Canada want to hear exactly what more Washington expects NATO to do against the Islamic State group.

NATO has fought insurgents in Afghanistan, and is training Iraqi officers so that local forces can make a strong stand against extremists. There is no appetite to deploy troops in counter-terrorism operations.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that "in the long run it is much better to fight terrorism and project stability by training local forces, building local security institutions, instead of NATO deploying a large number of combat troops."

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