Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

  • Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018.

All 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders including Trump backed a joint statement committing themselves to greater "burden sharing" and to the alliance's founding commitment that an attack on one member is an attack on them all - with no mention of the four per cent.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she had "experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good".

Trump will meet the Russian leader in Helsinki on 16 July for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the United States into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. "I've said that many times for many years".

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

When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary".

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets.

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.

Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, before the mood appeared to have calmed as the summit went into its second day, focusing on operations beyond Europe.

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". Trump said "actual" US military spending is 4.2 percent of GDP, without explaining the big discrepancy. "Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", Sarah Sanders told reporters A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron also played down Trump's words as rhetoric, saying "it is not a new demand".

But Trump's claim that the U.S.is spending 4.2 percent of GDP is at odds with the Pentagon, which puts it at 3.3 percent. The verbal attack comes just days before he meets Russian president Vladimir Putin. "NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out". We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans.

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to set the tone on Wednesday by announcing more troops for NATO's Afghan training mission.