"NATO continues to be the linchpin, the cornerstone of our collective defense and US security policy," Obama told reporters yesterday along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the White House.

The Obama-Stoltenberg meeting came in the wake of Trump's remarks.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has termed such remarks as "ill-advised". Obama, however, did not make any direct comment on Trump's comments.

Obama said he had an excellent discussion that started with marking the tragedy that had taken place in Brussels, and reinforcing the importance of us staying focused on ISIL and countering the terrorism that has seeped up into Europe and around the world.

"And we are continuing to cooperate on an ongoing basis about operations potentially in areas like Libya, where you have the beginnings of a government and we can I think provide enormous help in helping to stabilize those countries," Obama said.

Obama and Stoltenberg also discussed situation in Afghanistan, Russia and Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said NATO is as "important as ever".

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