Monday, 16 July, 2018

'Germany is totally controlled by Russia': Trump at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Trump shakes hands with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington Trump brands Germany a “captive of Russia,” days before he meets Putin
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 16:29

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to "appreciate your allies" and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

We are following developments here in real time.

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

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed a massive pipeline that would allow increased consumption of Russian energy.

Despite the tensions, Trump and other leaders held a cordial dinner Wednesday night, at which he made no mention of the tension earlier in the day. Allies would be increasing spending by $33 billion or more, he added.

He went on to say he doesn't anticipate allied leaders coming out to put Trump in his place because they don't want to undercut the alliance. "Stop denying it. I know you interfered in the election, '" Clark began, describing a hypothetical scenario.

He continued: "Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago". The figure is non-binding, and the goal was to reach it by 2024, not immediately.

But defense spending is unpopular in Germany, and Trump may only make that problem worse.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this is not a formal proposal and that Trump had merely "suggested" this increase.

Addressing a question about his consistency - and whether he might have less glowing comments about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on his Twitter account, Trump said, "No, that's other people that do that, I don't".

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

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Macron said: There is a communique that was published yesterday. "Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"

Tweeting after a day of meetings on Wednesday, Mr Trump called on member nations to immediately boost spending. "Who would think?" he told reporters. "It has been really incredible to see the level of spirit in that room".

Asked about Mr Trump's suggestion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he would focus on what has been agreed to.

Trump talks about U.S. "I'm very consistent", he replied.

"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. As Trump spoke on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked on.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in the Finnish capital on July 16 for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the United States into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Nonetheless, he has simultaneously asserted that the US should pay less.

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union, sounded a call for solidarity among allies.

Trump's trip to Britain will test the bonds of the U.S. and U.K.'s special relationship.

"He is taking a Republican Party, a grassroots party that's spent 60, 70 years leading the war in the Cold War, hating the Russians for all their aggressiveness in the world and taking over the countries on the border and being tyrannical the way they are now and he has those people cheering against Western Europe", he said. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said.