Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Allies doubt Trump threatened to bail on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in spending feud

Allies doubt Trump threatened to bail on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in spending feud

President Donald Trump reiterated the USA commitment to NATO Thursday after a contentious meeting in which he said allies agreed to raise defense spending by $33 billion amid his reported threats to withdraw. But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on the second day of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on July 12, 2018.

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment", President Trump told reporters, going on to repeat the claim that he had secured new commitments 10 more times during a press conference in Brussels.

Augustine Chukwuma Obodo, who wore a "Make America Great Again! hat and a Trump for president in 2020 shirt, said he wanted make clear that not everyone found the protest amusing".

"What they're doing is spending - at a much faster clip they're going up to the 2 percent level", Trump said.

The US president made an explosive intervention into British politics in an interview with The Sun published Thursday.

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Mr. Trump's comments came ahead of his summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, though the Kremlin said they were unlikely to have an impact on what was always going to be a hard meeting due to the number of disagreements between the two countries.

Heads of state signed a communique in which they "reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all aspects of the Defence Investment Pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales summit".

But by Thursday, leaders from France, Germany and Italy offered no support for Trump's claim that he had wrung new concessions out of the alliance on their military spending.

"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".

Several leaders, however, gave a more nuanced picture - or flat-out denied the reports.

He insisted it had been a "very good" summit because of the frank and open discussion it had hosted.

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"There is no feeling among Western Europeans that there is a military, economic or political threat by the Russian Federation, which would justify the behaviour of President Trump in Brussels".

But when pressed on the figures, he referred only to the $40bn (€34.2bn) in increased spending which allies had promised the alliance since Mr Trump became president.

Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on paper the summit was a success because of binding commitments to present a plan for increased defense spending and the development of the long-awaited Southern Strategy. "The current commitment is to reach two percent by 2024 but with get-out terms that would allow some to stretch it out to 2030". "Are we contributing the kinds of resources and demonstrating the kind of commitment to the alliance that always needs to be there?"'

It's a question that's brought into sharper focus just days before he's set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A senior Czech official said some of Trump's statements have been "concerning" but are "not that surprising".

He added: "I can you tell you that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation now is a really a fine-tuned machine".

More news: Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have agreed to increase defence spending

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