Trump tirade sends North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders into crisis session

12 Juillet, 2018, 14:34 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • From left German Chancellor Angela Merkel Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg US President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attend the opening ceremony of the Nato summit in Brussels

At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the USA on trade and needed to immediately boost spending.

"While NATO members should fulfill their commitments to spend two per cent of GDP on defense by 2024, no nation is "delinquent" or owes money to the United States, as the president has suggested", he said.

During the morning meeting with Stoltenberg, Trump also lambasted defense bloc allies and Germany in particular for giving billions of dollars to Russian Federation, a country the members "should be defended against".

"Because of me they've [NATO] raised about $40 billion over the past year", the United States leader told journalists standing next to NATO Secretary General. The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025", Trump tweeted.

"On top of that Germany is just paying just a little bit over 1 percent of GDP on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence contributions whereas the United States is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP".

(From L to R, first row) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. 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. "They are a very strong people".

Other leaders have also been trickling in, and continue to arrive after Trump.

Just a day ahead of the gathering, EU Council President Donald Tusk said that Trump should "acknowledge" its allies since "you do not have that many".

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"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters, according to Reuters.

He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were ever attacked.

Reporters there noted that Kelly looked fairly uncomfortable as Trump made the comments.

The U.S. president has taken an aggressive tone during the summit, questioning the value of an alliance that has defined decades of American foreign policy, torching an ally and calling for a massive increase in European defense spending. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine.

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the organisation.

Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense.

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending.

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