NATO Summit first day overshadowed by tensions between allies

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

"We should first get to two percent", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do so - turning a leaf on years of defence budget cuts.

US officials told Reuters that the White House is preparing another review of strategy in Afghanistan, just a year after Trump hesitantly extended the involvement in America's longest war.

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".

In his statement posted on Twitter, Kerry said Trump's broadside against an American ally had weakened the United States.

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the USA for defense.

Mr Trump also spent time with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has recently been reelected and gained new powers as his country's executive president.

TRUMP: "Because of me, they've raised about $40 billion over the past year." - remarks about NATO-member spending on defense at breakfast with Stoltenberg.

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

"Everyone in the room thanked me", he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to hit back at US President Donald Trump's claim that "Germany is a captive of Russia" by drawing on her own upbringing in Soviet-controlled East Germany. Trump tweeted an hour before the second day of the summit got under way.

He demanded that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product on defense - a bigger share than even the United States now pays, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statistics.

Germany indeed devotes only about 1.25 percent of its GDP to defense.

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

"I myself lived through a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reminded him that the USA and Europe are "stronger together than apart" and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance's dealings with Russian Federation.

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise.

"We call upon [North Korea] to fully implement its global obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related programmes", the statement said.

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