Monday, 18 February, 2019

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation goes to emergency session after Trump reportedly gets undiplomatic with Merkel

Belgian soccer fans celebrate their team's World Cup victory against Japan in Jette a Brussels municipality on July 2 Belgian soccer fans celebrate their team's World Cup victory against Japan in Jette a Brussels municipality on July 2
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 14:33

He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that members of the military alliance meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters. "Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?" "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate". In a series of tweets from the Belgian capital, Mr. Trump said, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

During the president's remarks, he suggested countries not only meet their minimum commitment of 2 percent but increase it to 4 percent, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary said in a statement.

The exchange was part of an uncomfortable day as anxious Western allies were subjected to the US president's "America first" approach.

"These two people are very different, very interestingly different".

After meeting with Merkel later Wednesday, Trump claimed to have a "very, very good" relationship with the German leader.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit atmosphere was "much calmer than everyone had said" and he saw a will to maintain the unity of the alliance, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Trump was "constructive". "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved".

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And the U.S. -North Korea denuclear dealings will be decoupled from the Sino-U.S. trade fight, according to professor Wang. Meanwhile, Pompeo was meeting with the comparatively junior General Kim Yong Chol. "I have it for him", Trump said.

Stoltenberg said it had been appropriate and understandable for defence spending to fall after the end of the Cold War, but the alliance had now recognised the need to bring it back up, with member countries adding billions to their defence budgets.

She also defended Germany's contribution to an alliance which Trump says places too much burden on the U.S. taxpayer.

The Reuters sources said Mr. Trump did not go as far as to threaten to pull the United States out of the transatlantic defense alliance - as some European organizations reported - but officials told the Associated Press that his demands for increased national defense spending were enough to prompt North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials to declare an emergency session in Brussels on Thursday.

Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree", Stoltenberg later said.

Two NATO sources said, however, that Trump had not issued a threat to pull the United States out of the alliance that it helped found to keep the peace in Europe after World War Two.

Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Russia's Vladimir Putin.