Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

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

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 12 July, 2018, 04:24

The meeting brought together Mr Trump and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau, who irritated the USA president at the G7 by declaring that his country would not be pushed around. The operator of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline construction hopes that the project will not be subject to political sentiment.

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy and defence.

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

Baltic leaders, fearful of any repeat of Russia's annexation of Crimea, called for unity, while Slovak President Andre Kiska said his country was "one of the good guys" because it was increasing defence spending.

"NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the US", Trump wrote.

On "America's Newsroom", former US ambassador to the United Nations and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said meeting with Putin is the right move for Trump.

"What we have here is an alliance of necessity, not necessarily a love relationship", said Gienow-Hecht, whose university was established with American support in West Berlin during the Cold War.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union". "So we're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation".

At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the United States on trade and needed to immediately up spending.

"The worst outcome is. that Trump thinks he is a big deal maker and a big arms controller".

Trump started the day bashing Germany, which he said is, "totally controlled by Russian Federation".

After joking that his breakfast with Trump at the USA ambassador's residence had been paid by the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the Western allies at a broader level.

Merkel, who grew up in Communist-controlled East Germany, rejected the notion of being controlled by Russian Federation in remarks to reporters.

While Canada spends less than some, it has the best equipment interoperability in the alliance - meaning it's a reliable partner for the USA on missions overseas, he said.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "I think they're very important to have those exchanges together".

STOLTENBERG: "It's also because of your leadership, because of your carried message".

The attack on the Skripals was an example of a growing disregard for "the norms and laws that help to keep us safe", she said, and undermined her vision for a rules-based global order.