North Atlantic Treaty Organisation holds emergency session as Trump presses on spending

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation holds emergency session as Trump presses on spending

From left to right, first row: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Donald Trump, and British Prime Minister Theresa May attend the opening ceremony at the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

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. "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". "We are talking about trade, we have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Trump said with Merkel sitting at his side. He then set the tone for the day with a blistering attack on key ally Germany at a breakfast meeting with Nato's Stoltenberg. But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on United States taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the US gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

What NATO partners dispute is Trump's repeated suggestion that the US gets little in return for its commitment to defend member countries if threatened.

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In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop a year ago".

The US president has made clear that he will continue on his drive on defence spending, and is now calling for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to increase their commitment for defence spending to 4 per cent of gross domestic product, double the previous target.

Allies were aware of Trump's grievances ahead of the summit, but he specifically rattled Germany ahead of his full day of meetings in Brussels when he called them out over the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany and suggested it puts the entire historic alliance in question. Must pay 2 per cent of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond.

He continued: "Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago".

But back in Washington, Trump's handling of the US' NATO allies was not going down well.

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