Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Trump claims victory in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending dispute

Trump claims victory in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending dispute

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did allow that the allies felt a "new sense of urgency, and all allies agreed to redouble their efforts". Partners including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker therefore left the discussion.

FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.

After "frank and open" talks in Brussels, Mr Trump said other members had agreed to increase defence spending to a minimum of two per cent of GDP.

"We have this stupidity going on, pure stupidity, but it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation, because, anything you do, it's like: 'Russia, oh He loves Russian Federation'".

In a series of tweets at the time, Trump said that "throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart".

As he flew off to the United Kingdom on Thursday for the next leg of his European tour, it was left to President Emmanuel Macron of France to correct the record following Trump's freewheeling press conference in which he claimed to have pushed allies into new defence spending commitments.

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But, several sources said, Mr Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries greatly speed up their progress toward a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defence, which now has a deadline of 2024 with get-out terms available that can stretch it to 2030.

The US leader has also singled out Germany for particular criticism over its defence spending.

Referring to an ongoing investigation into ties between his election campaign and Russian Federation, he decried a "rigged witch-hunt" that was hurting the United States and its relationship with Russian Federation.

Radev said that, on the other hand, Trump was right, because each country should make a contribution, in a world of growing threats, and build effective capabilities.

He said the presidents would meet one on one with just their interpreters.

Macron denies that the allies agreed to spending beyond 2%.

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According to the text of the 2014 declaration, "Allies whose current proportion of GDP spent on defence is below this level will ... aim to move towards the two percent guideline within a decade with a view to meeting their NATO Capability Targets and filling NATO's capability shortfalls".

Then US president Barack Obama said at a press conference at the Wales summit the alliance would "reverse the decline of defence spending and rise to meet the challenges that we face in the 21st century".

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump on Wednesday also turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russian Federation, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russian Federation.

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in Brussels that he did not hear any of the European Union countries viewing Nord Stream 2 positively, the report said.

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise. "I don't know that is what they voted for".

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