NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (L) talks with US defense minister James Mattis (R) during a family picture at a Defense Council meeting at the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) headquarters in Brussels on June 7, 2018: AFP, John Thys
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NATO defense ministers met Thursday in a fresh show of resolve against Russia and played down a series of festering trans-Atlantic disputes that threaten to undermine unity across the 29-nation military alliance.The meeting comes just five weeks before a summit of NATO leaders, to be attended by U.S. President Donald Trump.A year ago, Trump embarrassed U.S. allies outside their new billion-euro headquarters by publicly berating them for failing to spend enough on their defense budgets.The issue of "burden-sharing" -- NATO parlance for spending enough and making the right military contributions -- is a hot topic with Trump.NATO expects that eight of its members will be spending the target of 2 percent of GDP on military budgets this year.
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