Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation turns focus After Trump's demands

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation turns focus After Trump's demands

Trump wrote. "The paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade". In a series of tweets from the Belgian capital, Mr. Trump said, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

Mr Trump's main objection is that all but a handful of member states have still not increased their defence budgets to meet a goal of spending at least 2% of their annual economic output on defence by 2024. He says it "must ultimately" go to 4 percent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit back at Trump just a few hours after his remarks, arriving at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters to say that Germany had contributed a lot to the defence alliance. The United States pays about 67 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, more than any other nation, although only 3.5 percent is NATO-related. The organization is asking all member states spend a minimum 2 percent of their GDP on defensive measures by 2024. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them". Larsen has written to Trump about how this fixation on the two per cent commitment demonstrates a willful misrepresentation of both NATO's mission and how it is funded.

"What's more surprising, the fact that the President Trump is calling them out on that or that previous presidents haven't?" he asked. Spending %4 of GDP on defense represents wartime levels of investment. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Mr Trump said. "So we're going to have a meeting on that", Trump said, describing the situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States". "This has been brought up by other presidents".

Mrs Merkel told reporters: "I am very happy that today we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany".

"Germany is a captive of Russian Federation".

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"How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?"

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

Trump told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Germany was wrong to support a new Baltic Sea pipeline to import Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for contributing to NATO defence spending meant to protect Europe from Russia.

Germany's defence minister Ursula von der Leyen denied it was a prisoner of Russian policy, and defended keeping a communication line with Russia.

Woody Johnson, the USA ambassador to the United Kingdom, dismissed the significance of the protests, telling Fox News that one of the reasons the two countries are so close "is because we have the freedoms that we've all fought for".

Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree", Stoltenberg later said.

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