Donald Trump says USA commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains strong

Friday, 13 Jul, 2018

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

Mr Trump said he told counterparts on Wednesday that he was "extremely unhappy" with the lack of progress being made towards meeting the alliance target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

"Trump said things plainly as is normal between friends and allies".

In February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said only about half of the alliance's 29 members are on track to meet the 2024 deadline - which he said would boost spending by $46 billion.

"Without doubt these days, modern law gives more importance to the background noise than the music that was played", Macron said as the summit wound down.

Another 31 percent of respondents said that they believe that Putin will emerge from the summit with a "better deal", while 24 percent predicted that Trump will see a better outcome.

Trump demanded by public tweet that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" for their military efforts.

Romania will spend 2 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence, and Iohannis said other members "will try to spend more than 2 per cent". Allies would be increasing spending by $33 billion or more, Trump added.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit atmosphere was "much calmer than everyone had said" and he saw a will to maintain the unity of the alliance, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Trump was "constructive".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel denied the claims, but had a harder time fending off Trump's criticism that Germany and many other allies were not meeting defense spending targets of 2 percent of GDP. And on Thursday, he again declined to say Putin - despite the US intelligence community's unanimous conclusion Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential race - is an enemy.

"Every time this president has had to push back on Russian Federation, he has", she argued, citing sanctions on Russian Federation, expulsion of diplomats, strikes on the Assad regime in Syria and a refusal to recognize the annexation of Crimea.

Trump says at a news conference Thursday in Brussels that he told "people" that he would be "very unhappy" if they didn't increase their commitments. The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade. Trump tweeted on Thursday morning before the second day of talks.

Trump has said next week's meeting with Putin "may be the easiest" part of his European tour.

Since 2015, the country has also had a populist right-wing government that supports many of Trump's positions, including his opposition to migration.

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out US allies on Twitter, saying, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation". "I think that's very inappropriate".

Trudeau said he did agree to uphold Canada's commitment to the 2014 Wales NATO summit pledge on defence investment, but took pains to point out the declaration technically states NATO allies would merely "aim to move towards" the two per cent guideline within a decade. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this is not a formal proposal and that Trump had merely "suggested" this increase.

In response to a question about the atmosphere during the working session and whether European leaders feel blackmailed by the US, Radev said the atmosphere in the hall was not "one of the most pleasant".