Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Says 'No Problem' In NATO, Touting Allies' Spending Pledges

In a closed-doors meeting at the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Trump is said to have thrown a "tantrum" over the issue, threatening that the US would go it alone on defense issues if the other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members-most of whom are European-do not immediately increase military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product.

And they were more direct in expressing concerns about his treatment of allies and what he might agree to with his Russian counterpart.

Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, but said the atmosphere in the meeting was cordial.

"I know they're having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing, but I will tell you this - at a certain point they're going to call me and they're going to say let's make a deal". Lumping NATO spending together with his trade war won't do anything to sweeten the atmosphere at the summit.

Trump singled out Germany on Wednesday when he accused them of being "totally" controlled by Russian Federation because Russia provides a large share of their oil and natural gas.

Trump appeared to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply Berlin was funding a pipeline which German Chancellor Angela Merkel says is a commercial venture. Trump's suggestion was informal and made in a closed-door session of on Wednesday, but it did little to ease tensions at an already charged meeting. But at the bilateral meeting he exulted: "We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor".

He also said meeting the queen would be an experience Trump "will really cherish".

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

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"Will President Trump tell Putin that sanctions will not go away until he withdraws from Crimea?"

President Donald Trump said he would once again raise the sensitive issue of election meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin - then predicted his counterpart 'may deny it'.

The meeting brought together Mr Trump and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau, who irritated the United States president at the G7 by declaring that his country would not be pushed around.

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the USA now spends.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is insisting that Georgia will one day join the world's biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic.

He continued: "Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago".

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".

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