Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Donald Trump: NATO allies should double defence spend goal

Trump Lashes Germany Demands Allies Double NATO Spending 'A great meeting': Trump wants NATO allies to double defence spending
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 20:03

The United States, far the biggest economy, spent 3.6 percent past year, while Germany, the second biggest, paid out just 1.2 percent and only a handful of countries met the 2 percent target. Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, the centre of the protests.

Tensions rose on the final day of the two-day summit, when members met in an emergency session amid demands from Trump to speed up defense spending.

Mr. Trump stressed that NATO's budget had been unfair to the US but now he was sure it would be fair.

Trump called it "a fantastic meeting", speaking at a news conference Thursday before flying to Britain.

Several diplomats and officials said, however, that his undiplomatic intervention - including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as "you, Angela" - had irritated many.

Around eight members of the 29-country alliance are expected to reach the 2% target this year.

Many even fail to meet the current benchmark. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

"President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO", Macron said.

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At the end though, Trump said the military alliance is "very unified, very strong, no problem".

Merkel told reporters there followed a discussion with assurances to Trump that spending was increasing - something he later acknowledged was happening at an unprecedented rate.

President Trump kicked-off his high-stakes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation negotiations with a sharp critique of Germany's relationship with Russia Wednesday, saying Angela Merkel was "a captive" of the Kremlin over a controversial energy pipeline.

She said Trump raised the topic of better burden-sharing and more spending by Germany, "as has been discussed for months", and that "we made clear that we're on the way".

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".

The Commander-in-Chief called-out the Chancellor at the onset of the worldwide summit in Brussels; saying "It's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russian Federation where we're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation".

"I have to tell you that the atmosphere last night at dinner was very open, was very constructive and it was very positive", Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the president of Croatia, told reporters.

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