BRUSSELS – NATO hailed on Friday the contribution of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to keeping the military alliance strong and said it was ready to work closely with his successor, underlining the importance of U.S.
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Mattis said he was quitting on Thursday after falling out with President Donald Trump over the latter’s foreign policies, including surprise decisions to yank troops from Syria and start planning a drawdown in Afghanistan.
Mattis announced plans to depart in a candid resignation letter to Trump that laid bare the growing divide between them, and implicitly criticized Trump for failing to value America’s closest allies, who fought alongside the United States in both conflicts.
“Secretary Mattis has made a key contribution to keeping NATO strong and ready to deal with the significant security challenges we face, while ensuring a fairer share of the burden across our alliance,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said.
“He is widely respected as a soldier and a diplomat. The Secretary General will continue to work closely with Secretary Mattis until the end of his term, as he expects to work closely with his successor. We are grateful for the iron-clad commitment of the United States to NATO. US leadership keeps our transatlantic Alliance strong,” Lungescu said.
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