Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

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

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

"NATO", he added, "is much stronger now than it was two days ago".

But they also say Trump's harsh rhetoric on defense spending has had an effect, particularly after a closed-door meeting described to Foreign Policy by current and former European officials in which Trump vaguely threatened the United States would "go it alone" if allies didn't immediately boost their spending.

Asked if he was going to recognise the Russian annexation of Crimea, he said it was "an interesting question". He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip".

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

That's because, despite the political rhetoric, Trump - like his other 28 allies - signed a summit communique that had been agreed to by their ambassadors last weekend, five days before the summit began.

He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more. "He does not see the value, and does not recognize that the United States also benefits from it".

That outburst prompted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to ask Ukraine and Georgia to leave the room and, in a closed session, to try to get the carefully-choreographed summit back on track.

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"We understand this U.S. president is very serious about defence spending and this is having an impact", Stoltenberg said. Now, eight members are meeting the benchmark, and a majority are on track to reach that goal by 2024.

"The alliance really had some important wins that were overshadowed by the noise", said Ben Hodges, who commanded the U.S. Army in Europe until his retirement in 2017. Trump says Germany is "totally controlled" by Russian Federation. Trump tweeted on Thursday morning before the second day of talks.

"There is a communiqué that was published yesterday. It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the Associated Press.

At the Thursday press conference, Trump claimed that his push for a focus on defense spending had helped make North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a stronger alliance.

"Trump said things plainly, as it normal between friends and allies". Trump: "The additional money that they're willing to put up has been really awesome ... "

"I told people that I'd be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments very substantially because the United States has been paying a tremendous amount ..."

Before leaving on Thursday for a visit to the United Kingdom, Trump called USA commitment to the alliance "very strong", and referred to the two-day summit as "fantastic" characterized by "a great collegial spirit".

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It is unusual for Trump to express concerns about Russian behaviour.

Trump left Brussels shortly after speaking to reporters and boarded Air Force One for the trip to London, where he will attend a state dinner Thursday night.

"I made clear that we know that we have to do more and that we have been doing so for quite a while". "I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius".

Trump leaves Brussels on Thursday for some extra time with one key member of the alliance: British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Notably, former President Barack Obama and his first defense secretary, Robert Gates, also pushed member countries to spend more.

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

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