Wednesday, 11 December, 2019

President Donald Trump slams French leader Emmanuel Macron over North Atlantic Treaty Organisation criticism

Trump arrives in London to attend the NATO's 70th year anniversary and the leaders meeting Trump calls Canada ‘slightly delinquent’ for not meeting NATO commitments
Deanna Wagner | 03 December, 2019, 23:14

Underlining the breadth of strife in a transatlantic bloc hailed by its backers as the most successful military alliance in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for defence and also make concessions to USA interests on trade.

Trump is due to hold separate talks with Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines.

The President of United States, Donald Trump and Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General for NATO met at Winfield House in London ahead of the Meeting of NATO Leaders on Tuesday.

"You could make the case that they've been delinquent for 25-30 years", Trump said.

"What we are now experiencing is the brain death of NATO", Macron said, warning the Europe stands on "the edge of a precipice" and could soon be "no longer be in control of our destiny".

But on Tuesday he insisted: "We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn't want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter".

"They asked me whether or not Brexit would happen - I said "yes" and everybody smiled and they laughed...the next day they had the election and I was right, but I stay out of it", he stated.

Macron also asserted that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation needs "clarifications from the Turkish side" on key defense issues - such as the purchase of a Russian-made air defense missile system and Turkey's categorization of several Kurdish groups in Syria, including those once supported by the United States, as terrorists. The president added on Twitter that it's "not nice" for Democrats to "purposely schedule" a hearing during the summit. "And I'm changing that, and I'm changing it very rapidly".

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Trump and Macron also clashed over Russian Federation.

Tensions rose when Trump and Macron sat down for a joint appearance later on Tuesday, when Macron defended his "brain dead" remark.

"It is true you have foreign fighters coming from Europe, but this is a tiny minority of the overall problem", French. "France is not doing well economically at all", he said hours before he will meet one-on-one with the French leader. (Diplomats are comfortable just blurting this out to a major newspaper because they know Trump does not read articles.) The whole trick is to choreograph an elaborate ruse in which Trump will believe he forced the allies to submit to his will and won.

Trump said he would be meeting with Johnson at 10 Downing Street later in the trip.

The US President responded in kind in London, having arrived for a summit about the 70-year-old military alliance.

Lashing out at Paris for a digital service tax that he said unfairly discriminates against USA tech companies - including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - Trump repeated announcements that taxes are set to rise on French products, including cheese, wine and other products, as a measure of new to-be-introduced trade tariffs.

In response, President Trump quipped: "This is why he's a great politician, because that was one of the greatest non-answers I've ever heard, and that's okay". But his presence in London nine days before the December 12 vote is a complication for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and an ammunition for his opponents.