Trump brands Germany a "captive of Russian Federation", days before he meets Putin

12 Juillet, 2018, 14:15 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
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The stance has heightened tensions among leaders at the summit, where the U.S. president has been lambasting other member states for failing to spend enough on defence.

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.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday "may be the easiest" part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

Despite the first day's haranguing of allies for failing to meet spending targets and accusing Germany of being a prisoner to Russian energy, Trump was mild-mannered at a private dinner on Wednesday and avoided any outbursts that many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation diplomats had feared.

Trump's surprise demand came after he clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling Germany a "captive" of Russian Federation because of its gas links and singling out Berlin for failing to pay its way. "And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", she said in an arrival statement at the NATO Summit Wednesday, according to an English translation of her remarks.

The United States and Canada swung sharply on Sunday (10 June) toward a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Trump called him "very dishonest and weak".

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.

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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.

"We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the USA now spends.

The substance is the same military-grade toxin that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter in an earlier attack that Britain also blamed on Moscow.

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

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

Funding has averaged about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met. I was 7 years old at the time.

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