Trump, NATO Chief Discuss Situation in Middle East -White House

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump reacts next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as they attend a working lunch during the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain, December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the situation in the Middle East with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday and “emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East,” the White House said.

A summary of the call from NATO said Trump asked Stoltenberg to “become more involved in the Middle East,” and they agreed NATO “could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization “plays a key role in the fight against international terrorism, including through training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” the summary said, using a common acronym for Islamic State.

In a Wednesday morning address after¬†Iran¬†launched missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq overnight, Trump said he would soon ask NATO “to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)