Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Donald Trump Lashes Nato Allies As He Lands For Tense Summit

Donald Trump Lashes Nato Allies As He Lands For Tense Summit

Trump is expected to slam the alliance as he calls for European nations to spend more on defence.

US President Donald Trump holds a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) at the Nato Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday.

"Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made".

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

At the G-7 summit, he told leaders that he believed Crimea belonged with Russia because most of its residents are Russian-speaking, another position that would upend much of the West's security decisions against Russia since 2014.

US President Donald Trump (R) and US First Lady Melania Trump disembark from Air Force One as they arrive at Melsbroek Air Base in Haachtsesteenweg on July 10, 2018.

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.

United States ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump's rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration - which the U.S. is expected to back - which will be the basis for the alliance's work over the coming years.

Trump criticized Germany over dependence on natural gas from Russian Federation.

Previous year saw the biggest increase in defence spending in a generation, he said.

Some alliance members have privately voiced concern that Trump might also pull out of a major upcoming military exercises, including one, Trident Juncture, scheduled for October.

This Is Hurricane Chris' Path and Forecast
It added that an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the tropical wave on Wednesday, if needed. By late week, Chris will bring heavy rain and gusty winds to portions of Atlantic Canada.

The NATO chief revealed the "main topic" of this week's summit will be how to make "further progress on burden sharing".

"Despite disagreements, I expect that we will agree on the fundamentals that we are stronger together than apart".

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini even had some Trump-esque praise for Mr. Putin, whom he hoped to meet during a trip to Moscow for the Wold Cup final.

Another senior official confirmed that the president had repeatedly voiced concerns over a lack of military progress against the Taliban in the country, where US forces are hoping to box militants into peace talks with the Afghan government.

The U.S. has opposed the project because of its political implications, but work has begun regardless.

Crucially, they do not include Germany, Europe's biggest economy and prime target for Trump's invective, which is on course to spend just 1.24 percent of GDP on defence in 2018.

Trump complimented Stoltenberg, saying "he's worked very hard on this problem".

"Men like him, who look after the interests of their own citizens - we could do with dozens of them in this country", Mr. Salvini said.

Responding to Trump's recent criticism - or perhaps anticipating more - European Council President Donald Tusk offered a rebuttal ahead of Trump's arrival on European soil. "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all".

The prime minister said: "NATO is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast".

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