Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

President Ignored at Summit During Official Group Picture

President Ignored at Summit During Official Group Picture

Trudeau has said that the two per cent benchmark doesn't adequately address the totality of a country's commitment to the alliance.

Trump said of Germany: "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation and yet you make this deal with Russian Federation".

"This year, since our last meeting, commitments have been made for over $40 billion more money spent by other countries".

Trump told the 29 leaders of the transatlantic alliance they needed to up their defense spending to 4% of their nations' GDP, to counter some in the alliance's "free rider" status.

At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the United States on trade and needed to immediately up spending. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

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Trump had begun the day by attacking Merkel's government, accusing Germany of becoming "captive" to Russian interests through overreliance on its gas exports.

"This has gone on for many presidents".

Stoltenberg agreed there should be more done to prompt allies to invest more in their defense.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets Trump at the summit, has given political backing to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import more gas, despite criticism from other European Union governments. "We're moving in the right direction", he said. Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the U.S. president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods. "This has been brought up by other presidents".

US officials have told Reuters that Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

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Earlier, Trump strode into NATO's new glass-and-steel headquarters and into the amphitheatre-like North Atlantic Council decision-making chamber to shake hands with leaders - but only after publicly railing against Germany, one of NATO's top European powers, at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg.

"How can you make that point with the little evidence that you have and the fact that there is no alternative planning on the table?" she said.

Asked to comment, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis attempted to defuse tensions by saying that all countries in Europe were using Russian gas. "So I think that's inappropriate also".

Funding has averaged at about US$1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that "NATO is indispensable. The two per cent is just one of the ways you can look at it".

"I think we can cope with it", von der Leyen said.

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"What we have here is an alliance of necessity, not necessarily a love relationship", said Gienow-Hecht, whose university was established with American support in West Berlin during the Cold War.

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