Trump ups North Atlantic Treaty Organisation contribution target as allies lag on defense spending

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

He said the deal meant that Germany was now "totally controlled" by Moscow.

"We should first get to 2 pct", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do - turning a leaf on years of defense budget cuts.

"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 in the presence of reporters at a pre-summit meeting at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium.

Merkel, for her part, called the two nations "good partners" and said "we wish to continue to co-operate in the future".

"I think it is a very bad thing for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and I don't think it should have happened and I think we have to talk to Germany about it".

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, despite qualms among other European Union states.

Trump also misrepresented Germany's energy picture, asserting coal and nuclear power are gone from the mix.

The United States does pay for approximately 22 percent of a small, commonly-funded budget that concerns civilian and some military expenses, Daalder noted.

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.

"You know, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France". Trump tweeted. "Pipeline dollars to Russian Federation are not acceptable!"

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Nato's secretary-general said the primary focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2%. According to NATO's most recent report detailing members' defense expenditures, only five countries now satisfy that threshold: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia.

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

The US president was similarly effusive when he met German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

The U.S. president has lambasted U.S. allies for routinely failing to meet a 2 percent goal, a much lower standard that their nations agreed upon before he took office.

The threat of an emergent Russian Federation was expected to be the key theme at the summit.

Trump - whose presidential campaign in under investigation for possible collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 election - is set to meet with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. Gazprom secured permits from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany to build the pipeline on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

"Russia now has the ability to supply gas to Europe across Ukraine".

Trump's harsh words for Merkel, whose country has hosted tens of thousands of US troops that have been key to post-WWII stability in Europe for seven decades, struck at the core of the alliance.

"It is, rather, replacing one".

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