NATO chief calls for Gulf calm, ahead of US visit

June 25, 2019
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, June 25, 2019.NATO defense ministers begin a two-day meeting on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is calling for calm in the Gulf region but says the military alliance has no formal role to play there amid a standoff between the United States and Iran.

Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “the important thing now is to reduce tensions.”

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of NATO defense ministers, including new acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Stoltenberg said the allies “are concerned about the situation in the Gulf and we are also concerned about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.”

The 28 allies of the United States are waiting to hear Esper lay out the U.S. strategy for compelling Iran through economic pressure to renegotiate the major international nuclear agreement that the Trump administration pulled out of last year.

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