Monday, 19 November, 2018

Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies calling for increase in defence spending

Crimea not reason for NATO to isolate Russia dialogue is key to reduce tensions – Stoltenberg Sputnik
Ellis Copeland | 12 July, 2018, 17:13

Mr Trump earlier claimed that Germany was "captive to Russia".

A White House spokeswoman said his remarks came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defence and were not a formal proposal.

It was a surprising statement after two days during which Trump's "America first" foreign policy approach had presented a significant challenge for the organization. Nor has there lately been any suggestion of an unexplained affection on the part of a German leader for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Well, what you have is, you have the Germans holding hands under the table with them while we're supposed to be disciplining them and trying to get a handle on it", he said. We are good partners, and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future.

After a tense first day, Trump didn't ease up on the second.

Mr. Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were ever attacked. "We're going to ask that again", Trump said. "He seems to look at this as we do everything for them, and we provide them with benefits, and they just take advantage of us".

According to a joint declaration prepared in advance of the summit, which was seen by AFP, NATO members will make an "unwavering commitment to all aspects of the defense investment pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit" which includes the 2% target.

As well as Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Mr Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6% of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills. "He may deny it", Trump said of Putin.

Macron said: There is a communique that was published yesterday. "It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the Associated Press.

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He added: "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024".

"We had a very intense summit", Merkel told reporters after the session.

"I believe through strength you get peace", he said.

USA ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that Trump would also recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO - Article 5 - which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

European diplomats are wary of a repeat of last month's divisive G7 in Canada, when Trump clashed with his Western allies before meeting Kim Jong Un at a summit, where he praised the North Korean leader as "very talented".

Funding has averaged at about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met. "I would think that Putin would be very well prepared, obviously, with answers ... that they've been thinking about for a long time". "I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius".

Trump heads next to the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump as saying "I'll do my own thing" if spending is not immediately increased.

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