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John McCain name suggestion for new Nato HQ

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John McCain died on Saturday aged 81

A call to name Nato’s new $1.4bn (£1bn) headquarters after the late US Senator John McCain has been backed by three former secretaries-general.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen and Javier Solana said it would be a fitting way to “pay back a lifetime of service” to the Western military alliance.

The move was initially suggested by UK Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat.

A Nato spokesperson told CNN the idea “will be considered carefully”.

Mr McCain, who died on Saturday at the age of 81, was a vocal advocate for Nato throughout his career, which latterly set him on a collision course with US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the US pays more than others and threatening to pull out.

Following Mr Trump’s contentious appearance at July’s Nato summit, Mr McCain hit back, releasing a statement saying there was “little use in parsing the president’s misstatements and bluster, except to say that they are the words of one man”.

“Americans, and their Congress, still believe in the transatlantic alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and it is clear that our allies still believe in us as well,” Mr McCain, who served as chairman of the Senate committee on armed services, added.

In a joint statement shared on Thursday, the three former secretary-generals paid tribute to Mr McCain’s commitment to the alliance.

His work, they said, “was a beacon for all of us who believe that transatlantic unity is the only means of ensuring peace”.

Nato’s new building, based in Brussels, Belgium, opened earlier this year, with Mr Tugendhat suggesting it could be named the McCain Headquarters in a petition launched on Thursday.

“Few argued more passionately for a shared commitment to each others security or understood better that we are all part of one great experiment in freedom,” the Conservative MP explained.

“Honouring him would signify our determination to stand together for a new generation and remember our role the world and why we should all meet our commitments to spending on defence.”

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