Trump lashes out at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies calling for increase in defence spending

Merkel slams Trump’s ‘Russian captive’ comment defends Berlin’s ‘independent policies

White House officials announced that Mr. Trump would give an unscheduled news conference on Thursday in Brussels amid the tumult over his demands for increased spending.

NATO leaders declared their "unwavering commitment" to agreed defence spending targets at a summit on Wednesday and stressed concerns over threats posed by Russia, Iran and North Korea.

It was a surprising statement after two days during which Trump's "America first" foreign policy approach had presented a significant challenge for the organization.

Asked if he was going to recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea, he said it was "an interesting question". Allies would be increasing spending by $33 billion or more, he added.

Trump claimed a personal victory at the summit after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington's support. And I would like to thank President Trump for his leadership on defense spending-it is clearly having an impact,"NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said". 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, the centre of the protests. "He seems to look at this as we do everything for them, and we provide them with benefits, and they just take advantage of us".

"The communique is clear: it reaffirms the commitment to two per cent (of GDP)", said Macron, who was photographed smiling and sharing a hug with Trump yesterday despite recent tensions between the two.

At NATO, Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans. "It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the Associated Press.

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"(The) 2 per cent (figure) was a range, a goal, now it's a commitment, it was like this amorphous number out there and now it's a real commitment", he said.

The last time Donald Trump met with the US's allies, he left them reeling. We discussed it at length today. "The additional money they will be putting up has been really incredible".

"As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality", she said.

Trump said he had been "extremely unhappy" with allies' low levels of defense spending before the summit, but was pleased "they have substantially upped their commitment" during a "fantastic" unscheduled crisis meeting on Thursday morning.

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets while US taxpayers - funding a defense budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income - foot much of NATO's bills.

"We understand your message, but some people ask themselves, will you be tweeting differently once you're aboard Air Force One?" a Croatian reporter asked.

"The alliance is very important and I think there's ways of communicating our displeasure with things without trying to insult and break the alliance apart", said Corker.

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