Saturday, 15 December, 2018

German, NATO officials wary of Trump-Putin summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada is doing its bit to support NATO.
Justin Tang  The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada is doing its bit to support NATO. Justin Tang The Canadian Press
Deanna Wagner | 09 July, 2018, 06:15

"Within 24 hours, Mr. Trump can change his position by 180 degrees", said Lindner, although he warned against growing anti-American sentiments given that the United States was and would remain Germany's closest ally.

On other occasions, the two men discussed Syria, where Putin offered to help Trump achieve his agenda of pulling the United States out of the region, before advisers urged the President not to accept such an offer. "But I expect Germany to do more".

Trump has long complained that the US bears too large a financial burden, but has yet to act. "And that's fine. Of course, they kill us on trade".

European Union officials also contend European Union tariffs on most US imports are already low.

Christian Lindner, head of the pro-business Free Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk in an interview that he did not trust Trump, and his actions on trade and in the security arena were not in the United States' long term interest. Roy Blunt (R-MO) cautioned that President Donald Trump should remember Russian President Vladimir Putin is not his friend.

Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference and a former German envoy to Washington, said it is possible that Trump could refuse to sign a communique at the July 11-12 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, mirroring what he did at a recent Group of Seven summit.

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Asked about transatlantic tensions, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has cited the 1956 Suez Crisis and the 2003 Iraq war as examples of policy disagreements that have been overcome. Defence budgets in European NATO members, Canada and Turkey are expected to rise by almost 4 percent in 2018, a nearly $90 billion cumulative increase since 2015.

The White House declined to say if and how Trump might punish the countries.

One senior U.S. State Department official said Trump's foreign policy closely hews to Republican thinking in Washington and that tensions had been high for some time.

Beyer, in unusually frank remarks, told the media group that Trump's recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore has fueled concerns that Trump would let Putin "put one over on him" in Helsinki.

Though Trump last week floated the possibility of discussing Crimea during his meetings with Putin, Russian officials told Reuters that the country's involvement in the region will not be on the agenda.