Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Trump Walks Back NATO Threats, Takes 'Total Credit' For Spending Boost

Donald Trump takes the fight to NATO Donald Trump takes the fight to NATO
Kenny Thornton | 12 July, 2018, 17:15

We are good partners, and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

Mr Trump said countries needed to "step up, not over a 10-year period, they have to step up immediately" adding that other U.S. presidents had raised the issue but "did not do anything about it".

Now, Germany's leader is firing back.

Trump had made similar comments ahead of his visit and has always been critical of the transatlantic alliance, prompting concerns that President Trump will undermine it, CNN reported.

Trump turned NATO's annual summit - usually a scripted snore - into a sparring match between old allies.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold.

"President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO", French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Earlier in the day, Trump was on the attack, going after America's allies even as he refused the day before to call Putin an adversary of the United States.

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. "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024". You'll be the first to know, ' he told reporters. "It has been really wonderful to see the level of spirit in that room".

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said.

"We will be deploying an additional 440 personnel to NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and I think that shows when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation calls, the United Kingdom is one of the first to step up", May told reporters.

Former Secretary of State and member of the Carnegie foundation John Kerry speaks to the press as he leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris during a summit in May. And he called alliance members "delinquent" on their contributions to NATO's budget. "I am very happy that we are today united in freedom as the federal republic". "I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius".

Trump leaves Brussels on Thursday for some extra time with one key member of the alliance: British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump heads to Britain on Thursday, where the government is in crisis over Brexit and where tensions with Russian Federation have spiked after London blamed Moscow for the death this month of a British woman from contact with the Novichok nerve agent.

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

On both matters, Republican senators said they agreed with Trump's message.

It's an uncomfortable environment for May, who is facing her own political unrest outside of Trump's visit. As Trump spoke on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked on. He described the U.K.as a "hot-spot with lots of resignations".

USA officials have told Reuters that Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said. "All I can do is say "Did you?' and 'Don't do it again" - but he may deny it". "They like me a lot in the U.K".

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