Boris Johnson has called for unity with Nato as leaders gathered for talks today.

His comments come amid tensions over the direction of the Western alliance.

The prime minister is hosting the 70th anniversary gathering at the Grove Hotel near Watford and said Britain’s commitment remained “absolutely rock solid”.

Despite shows of solidarity, divisions were on display on Tuesday as Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron clashed over the French president’s suggestion the alliance was experiencing a “brain death” .

Mr Trump said the comments were “very, very nasty” and insulting to other alliance members.

However, Mr Macron insisted he stood by the remarks, prompted by Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds of northern Syria after it was effectively given the green light by Mr Trump.

The Kurds are seen as key allies of the West in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

The Nato leaders have gathered in England this week (PA)

The ensuing row led Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to threaten to block Nato plans to expand the defence of the Baltic states and Poland, in the face of the growing threat from Russia.

Mr Johnson moved to downplay the divisions and said: “Clearly it is very important that the alliance stays together, but there is far, far more that unites us than divides us.”

Downing Street said the leaders had agreed on the need to ensure humanitarian access to refugees displaced by the fighting in northern Syria based on a United Nations “needs assessment”.

“The leaders said they would work to create the conditions for the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of refugees and that the fight must be continued against terrorism in all its forms,” a No 10 spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who also met Mr Erdogan on Tuesday,insisted that he remains confident that their differences could be overcome.

“We have plans in place to protect all Nato allies including the Baltic countries and Poland,” he said as he arrived for Wednesday’s meeting.

“I am confident that we will find a solution to the updating of the revised defence plan.”



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