Tillerson's Travel Plans Worry Allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

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While she did not confirm Tillerson's meetings in Russia, Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that "we are definitely surprised by the constant leaks of sensitive information from Washington". Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that the US intelligence committee that heard FBI Director James Comey's congressional testimony on Monday about alleged Russian ties was "confused". Hinting that Tillerson will be present when Xi talks with Trump, a State Department official said Tillerson told Xi he hoped they would meet again "very soon".

Many have criticised Mr Trump's 28 per cent cut to the budget of the State Department in his proposed budget, because diplomacy is necessarily a large part of the U.S. security agenda. "All decisions concerning the date of a ministerial are taken by consensus by all 28 allies".

A diplomat speaking anonymously to Reuters noted that Tillerson's plans to visit Moscow later in May, and the Trump administration's slights against the alliance, combined with its gestures of warmth toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, are cause for concern among some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in the former Soviet bloc. The spokesman said that the secretary's trip will come after a foreign ministers' G7 meeting in Italy.

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Indian batsman Cheteshwar too has benefited courtesy his marathon innings of 202 in the recently drawn Test against Australia. The race for the second spot is still open as Australia and South Africa are competing ahead of the cut-off date of April 1.

He is also expected to be at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits on April 6-7. Tillerson laid the groundwork for the meeting during a visit to Beijing last week.

If the dates are confirmed, Tillerson's Russian Federation trip will come on the heels of a G7 meeting in Italy. The president said in January that the alliance was "obsolete", while calling the European Union a "vehicle for Germany".

NATO's quarterly meetings are closed-door sessions over about two days in which governments discuss security strategies and approve top secret documents created to guide the nuclear-armed alliance in areas ranging from training in Afghanistan to defenses against Iranian missiles. "These nations must pay what they owe". He also accused European members of the alliance of not sharing US' burden concerning defense spending. Now five member countries, including the U.S., spend at least this amount on defense.