Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Nato summit: Energy deal makes Germany a Russian captive, says Donald Trump

Donald Trump berated other Nato leaders on Twitter
Credit
JIM WATSON  AFP  Getty Images Donald Trump berated other Nato leaders on Twitter Credit JIM WATSON AFP Getty Images
Ellis Copeland | 11 July, 2018, 15:58

President Donald Trump came out brawling in his first public comments here ahead of NATO's annual summit, accusing a close U.S. ally of being "a captive of Russia" and all-but ordering members of the alliance to increase their defense spending "immediately".

Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defence spending meant to protect Europe from Russia.

"We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries. It's very unfair to our taxpayers".

Mr Trump appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's north-eastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

Trump was referring to the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany.

"I have North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. That's a fundamental inconsistency in the pro-NATO position", Mr. Desch said. "We have highlighted the importance of this diversification of supplies to make sure that our energy systems are resilient".

Trump has repeatedly criticized alliance members for their levels of defense spending ahead of the meeting.

Trump is expected to slam the alliance as he calls for European nations to spend more on defence.

"The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent's economy, including Germany's, are doing well and security challenges abound".

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"Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!", he tweeted last month before tearing into the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its former director James Comey.

"You tell me, is that appropriate?" he asked. "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me", he said.

And he vowed not to be "taken advantage" of by the European Union, which he accuses of relying on the United States for defence while restricting USA imports into the bloc, the world's biggest market. But we can not be taken advantage of. Not fair to the USA taxpayer. "It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem".

John Kelly, Mr Trump's chief of staff, and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, sat silently alongside Mr Trump as he delivered the criticism across the table to Mr Stoltenberg.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's a competitor", he said. "I think it's not".

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said.

The host Olga Skabeeva opened the segment with footage of Trump and Melania getting on their Europe-bound plane together, holding hands.

It'll mark the second visit to the alliance by Trump, who used his first appearance in May 2017 to try to browbeat fellow leaders into ramping up military spending. "Explain that. And it can't be explained", Trump said.

Trump interjected, asking Stoltenberg why he thought that had happened. "Who would think? Who would think?" the president said outside the White House before his departure. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said last week that the goal of the summit is to project unity.

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