Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump attending second day of meetings at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Trump attending second day of meetings at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

"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.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said.

"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.

He continued that 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".

"I think we should first get to 2 percent, focus on that now. the good thing is that we are moving to that", NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told reporters, without speaking directly to Trump's comments.

However, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief did not follow Trump's playful tone and continued to talk business, saying that the alliance member's defense spending is the main issue to be discussed. He says it "must ultimately" go to 4 percent.

Trump's pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has appeared eager to improve relations with Putin and dismissed the US intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election to help Trump win.

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After meeting with Merkel later Wednesday, Trump claimed to have a "very, very good" relationship with the German leader.

"We had a very intense summit", Merkel told reporters after the session. I think he's right about the spending levels.

Stoltenberg said it had been appropriate and understandable for defence spending to fall after the end of the Cold War, but the alliance had now recognised the need to bring it back up, with member countries adding billions to their defence budgets. 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 United States is spending far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some".

Stoltenberg later said Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree... we have to share the burden more fairly". "This has been going on for decades, for decades and it's disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're gonna make it fair".

Mr Trump, who landed in Belgium during the middle of the football-mad nation's World Cup semi-final match, will later head to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union.

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending.

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