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Afghanistan, cyber attacks to dominate NATO meeting

AFGHANISTAN, CYBER ATTACKS TO DOMINATE NATO MEETING

Turkey's defense minister Fikri Isik will discuss issues such as Afghanistan, cyber attacks and terrorism during a high-level NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

NATO defense ministers will discuss a "wide range", Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of the gathering.

Stoltenberg said last month's NATO summit took decisions to increase the alliance's role in the fight against terrorism and to improve burden sharing.

That meeting saw U.S. President Donald Trump accuse other NATO members of not contributing their share to the alliance.

However, Stoltenberg was upbeat on Thursday, saying: "Today, we will discuss not only cash, but capabilities and contributions to NATO missions and operations and I expect we will make advances here as well."

Stoltenberg confirmed he would also meet EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. "We will discuss how we take our cooperation even further in the future," he added.

Stoltenberg said NATO will continue to strengthen its presence in the Black Sea region and Afghanistan.

He added NATO's role will be in training, assisting and advising Afghan forces, saying: "What we do now is not to conduct combat operations but to help the Afghans fight and to help the Afghans take full responsibility for the security in their own country."

About the increased military activities in the Baltic Sea, Stoltenberg said: "We are transparent when it comes to our exercises and we call on Russia to be transparent on their exercises."

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