President meets with NATO secretary general at White House

Stoltenberg is touting NATO's benefits at a joint press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House.

"If other countries pay their fair share instead of relying on the United States to make up the difference, we will all be much more secure and our partnership will be made that much stronger", Trump said Wednesday. The two will meet again in May when Trump travels to the group's headquarters in Brussels for talks.

Donald Trump said USA relations with Russian Federation are at an all time low and admitted it's possible the country knew in advance of the chemical attack in Syria that left at least 80 people dead.

United Kingdom analysis of samples from the Syria chemical attack has detected sarin or a sarin-like substance, Britain's UN ambassador has said.

His comments, aired Wednesday on Fox Business News, come less than a week after Trump ordered a retaliatory strike on Syria based on USA evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked civilians with chemical weapons.

Trump says he'd like to think the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't know, but says "certainly they could have".

"Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", the president said this week in an interview with the Fox Business Network.

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Wednesday's meeting was the first in-person encounter for these leaders, but not their first time speaking.

Trump's harder line comes amid growing questions about whether his aides and associates colluded with Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

"I said it was obsolete", he continued. "Right now the world is a mess". So I felt we had to do something about it. He floated the idea of easing sanctions imposed on the country for its incursions into Ukraine. However, total defense spending by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members grew an estimated 3.8 percent in 2016, after declining from 2009 to 2014.

"We need many different tools to stabilize our neighborhood", Stoltenberg said last month.

But White House aides said Mr. Trump fully supports the alliance.

"I thank you for your attention to this issue", he said.

Stoltenberg said "burden sharing" is his top priority and that countries are making progress in reaching the 2 percent threshold for spending on defense, including Romania, Latvia and Lithuania, which are expected to reach the threshold this year or next.

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