Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Why Trump slammed Germany for gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation

John Kerry has a lot of thoughts on Donald Trump's combative NATO comments After Trump's spending demands, NATO summit turns to Afghanistan
Charles Bowen | 12 July, 2018, 14:15

But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on United States taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the U.S. out of the organisation, but said the atmosphere in the meeting was cordial.

The comments come amid wide expectations of a turbulent summit-Trump has long criticized the 29-member alliance, calling it "obsolete", and is extremely critical of countries that are failing to meet the target of 2% of their GDP as defense spending.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, talks to U.S. President Donald Trump as British Prime Minister Theresa May, right watches at the opening ceremony of the NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

During the summit, Trump reportedly broke diplomatic protocol by calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name, saying "Angela, you need to do something about this", a source told Reuters.

NATO leaders called on all nations to maintain "decisive pressure" on North Korea, including by fully implementing United Nations sanctions, to persuade it to give up its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Still, three senior USA officials told Reuters that no one in the Pentagon, including Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, knows what Trump might say in Helsinki.

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

More news: West Ham continue spending spree with Yarmolenko deal

Mr Trump opened his argument by questioning why Germany pays billions to Moscow for gas supplies but then demands the U.S. defends it from Russian Federation, saying repeatedly: "I think it's inappropriate".

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said. Trump said he had a "very, very good relationship" with Merkel, who described the two as "good partners". Merkel fired back that Germany was independent and a strong North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. "And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", she said in an arrival statement at the NATO Summit Wednesday, according to an English translation of her remarks.

"We had a fantastic meeting at the end. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany".

Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to.

Trump's biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 per cent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.

It was the most recent in a series of demands and insults that critics fear will undermine the decades-old alliance, coming days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.

"The president came out of Singapore saying he'd ended the nuclear threat from North Korea", said one US official, referring to Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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