The Latest: Trump reaffirms NATO commitment to France

The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EST):

7 p.m.

President Donald Trump has reaffirmed to France the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance, including that all members share the burden on defense spending.

Speaking by telephone with French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND'), the White House says Trump also expressed his desire to work with France on a range of issues, especially counterterrorism and security.

During the presidential campaign, Trump had dismissed NATO as "obsolete" and suggested the U.S. might not aid members who hadn't paid their share of military defense costs.

The White House says Trump and Hollande also praised joint efforts by their countries to eliminate the Islamic State group from Iraq and Syria.

Trump offered condolences for the loss of life in terrorists attacks carried out across France during the past two years.


6:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are stressing the "enduring strength and closeness" of relations between their countries.

The White House says both leaders agree that the relationship is critical for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. The White House says in a brief, two-sentence statement that the conversation lasted 25 minutes.

Turnbull was the fifth foreign leader Trump spoke with by telephone on Saturday.

The president also had conversations with the leaders of Japan, Russia, Germany and France.


6:15 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin discussed a range of topics from defeating the Islamic State group to ways "to achieve more peace."

A statement Saturday said the phone conversation between the two leaders lasted one hour and "was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair."

The statement focused exclusively on security-related matters.

However, an earlier statement released by the Kremlin said Trump and Putin addressed "restoring mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between business circles of the two countries."


3:55 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agree on "fundamental importance" of NATO to trans-Atlantic relations.

The leaders also discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, relations with Russia and the Ukraine crisis during what was described as an "extensive telephone conversation."

In previous remarks Trump has dismissed NATO as "obsolete." But British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with Trump on Friday, said the president assured her he was "100 percent" behind the organization.

Trump and Merkel agreed to deepen German-US relations, and increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

The White House says Trump accepted Merkel's invitation to the Group of 20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July. He also said he looked forward to welcoming her to Washington soon.

A statement from Merkel's spokesman mirrored the White House description of the call.


3:50 p.m.

A spokesman for Angela Merkel says the German Chancellor and U.S. President Donald Trump agree on the "fundamental importance that the NATO alliance has for trans-Atlantic relations" and the need for all members to pay their fair share.

Steffen Seibert says the two leaders had an "extensive phone conversation" Saturday in which they discussed NATO, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, relations with Russia and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Seibert said in a statement that Merkel and Trump stressed their intention "to further deepen the already excellent bilateral relations in the coming years."

He said that Trump accepted Merkel's invitation to attend the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, in July. Seibert said Trump also said he looked forward to welcoming Merkel in Washington "soon."


3:10 p.m.

The Kremlin says Russia's Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn) and President Donald Trump have agreed to work closely together and boost ties between the powers.

That's the message after the leaders spoke by telephone on Saturday. It's their first official contact since Trump took office.

A Kremlin statement says "both sides showed their readiness for active, joint work to stabilize and develop Russian-American cooperation."

There is no immediate comment from the White House.

The Kremlin says Putin and Trump will maintain "regular personal contact" and begin preparations for a face-to-face meeting.

The Kremlin has applauded Trump's promises to rebuild U.S.-Russian relations. They've been pushed to their worst level since the Cold War by the Ukraine crisis, war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.


12:15 p.m.

The presidents are on the phone.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has tweeted that the scheduled call between President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin is underway.

It's the first time the leaders have spoken since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Trump has said he's open to cooperating with Russia if it helps further American interests abroad.

Before the call, Trump was noncommittal about whether he was considering lifting economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the Obama administration.


11:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump has invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) to a meeting in Washington on Feb. 10.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer says on Twitter that Trump extended the invitation during a telephone conversation with Abe on Saturday.

The White House says in a statement that Trump affirmed the "ironclad U.S. commitment" to Japan's security. The leaders pledged to consult and cooperate on the threat posed by a nuclear-ambitious North Korea.

They also discussed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' upcoming visit to the region, including Japan.

It was the first several conversations Trump planned with world leaders on Saturday. The president is also expected to speak with the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Australia.

Abe was the first world leader to meet with Trump after the election.


6 a.m.

Russia's security chief says he has high hopes for Saturday's scheduled telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump.

Nikolai Patrushev — secretary of Russia's Security Council — is quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency as saying, "Everything will be positive."

The leaders' call will be their first official contact since Trump was sworn in as president.

The Kremlin has welcomed Trump's promises to mend ties with Moscow. Those ties have been strained by the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

Trump has been noncommittal about the fate of U.S. economic penalties against Russia.