London: The US President Donald Trump is set for a second UK visit later this year as the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) announced Wednesday that the military alliance is to hold its next summit in London December.
Jens Stoltenberg said NATO allies had agreed that the meeting of its heads of state and government, which includes Trump, will take place in the UK this year.
“We are grateful to the United Kingdom for agreeing to host this meeting in NATO’s 70th anniversary year,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
“London was the home of NATO’s first headquarters. The UK was one of the alliance’s 12 founding members and continues to play a key role in the alliance, making essential contributions to our shared security,” the statement added.
The NATO chief said that the December meeting will be an opportunity for allied heads of state and government to address the security challenges and to ensure that NATO continues to adapt in order to keep its population of almost one billion people safe.
Trump has repeatedly criticised NATO since he took over as the US President but is expected to attend, marking his second official visit to Britain since July 2018 when he was greeted with widespread protests.
British Prime Minister Theresa May described NATO as a “cornerstone” of national security in her statement on the summit.
She said: “The UK has played a central role throughout NATO’s history as it has adapted to deal with new and complex threats to our security.
“So as we pay tribute to the servicemen and women who have worked so hard over so many years to keep us safe, December’s meeting is an important opportunity to determine the steps we must now take to modernise the alliance and ensure its continued success.”
The summit was announced as Macedonia moved closer to becoming the alliance’s 30th member, when allies signed a key document at a ceremony in Brussels.
Trump has previously demanded that NATO commit 4 per cent of is annual output to military spending, which would double the current target. On Tuesday, he said in his State of the Union address that the US had been “treated very unfairly by friends of ours, members of NATO” over a period of years.
The December summit would mark an important meeting of the intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries.