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NATO chief dismisses questioning about bloc's unity, future

Washington: Visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sought to quell questioning about the bloc's unity and future, after meeting US President Donald Trump here.

Following the meeting on Thursday, Stoltenberg dismissed a recent remark by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said the group was experiencing "brain death", reports Xinhua news agency

"NATO is strong and has implemented the biggest enforcement of collective defence since the end of the Cold War," Stoltenberg said.

"NATO is stronger and more agile than we had been for many, many years."

He also downplayed concerns about the bloc's future as issues such as burden-sharing, Iran and Turkey's military operations in northern Syria are pitting its members against each other.

"Despite differences, we are able to unite around our core cause, which is to defend and protect each other," he said.

According to a NATO statement, Stoltenberg pledged to Trump that Canada and European members were stepping up their defence spending.

The meeting between the two leaders came ahead of a NATO leaders meeting in London next month to commemorate the alliance's 70th anniversary.

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