Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit 2018 begins in Brussels

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit 2018 begins in Brussels

"President Trump has at times called the alliance 'obsolete.' Our allies are starting to wonder whether they can rely on the United States to come to their defense in a crisis", said Sen.

"Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back", Trump said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

"But how can you be together when you're getting energy from the group you want protection from?" the president asked. "It's very unfair to our taxpayers". The project is opposed by the USA and some European Union members.

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis pointed out that all countries in Europe were using Russian gas. She said Germany could make "independent decisions".

President Trump suggested such member states should reimburse the USA for being delinquent on their obligations for years.

Mr Stoltenberg also stressed how "even during the Cold War, NATO allies were trading with Russia".

"And we will continue to make the case for all allies to follow the UK's example and meet the 2 per cent pledge".

Trump has repeatedly criticized alliance members for their levels of defense spending ahead of the meeting.

With tensions in the Western defence alliance already running high over Trump's demands for more contributions to ease the burden on USA taxpayers, and a nationalistic stance that has seen trade disputes threaten economic growth in Europe, the latest remarks will fuel concerns among allies over the US role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War Two. Tusk recalled that the Europeans are spending more than Russian Federation and as much as China on defense. Even Stoltenberg - a mild-mannered former Norwegian prime minister who has cultivated a positive relationship with Trump - appeared reduced to spluttering as Trump cut him off after he started to explain that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War. "I think the president knows that's not true as well". "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me", he said.

He vowed not to be "taken advantage" of by the European Union, which he accuses of freeloading by relying on the United States for its defence while blocking U.S. imports into the bloc, the world's biggest market. But we can not be taken advantage of. In 2017, the U.S.is estimated to have spent more than 68% of the cumulative total.

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President Trump has often praised Vladimir Putin's leadership since the U.S. President was elected in 2016.

Tusk issued a stern warning to Trump Tuesday as he signed a joint statement on cooperation between the European Union and NATO, "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many".

"It's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump told journalists. "And I have Putin".

"As far as I'm concerned, he's a competitor", he said.

Still, the administration official said, Trump would likely reiterate U.S. support for the NATO treaty's Article 5, a provision that means an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all of them. NATO & US troops in Europe serve our national interests.

Over the weekend, Trump will take a rest stop at one of the two Trump-owned golf courses in Scotland. "Very supportive", Trump said. "NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out".

"Unfortunately, this motion has become necessary because some of our closest allies have come to question the U.S. commitment to collective self-defense. Who would think?" Trump told reporters in Washington before departing. "In that we also defend the interests of the United States".

Trump, who has compared the sentiment that underpinned the Brexit vote to leave the European Union to his own election, will be making his maiden presidential trip to Britain at a fraught time for May. The funds, totaling about $3 billion this year, are used to run NATO's headquarters and to pay certain other civilian and military costs.

"Once the agreement is finalized and implemented, we will be able to invite the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to become NATO's 30th member under its new name - the Republic of North Macedonia".

The meeting of 29 Western leaders has the potential to descend into another public bust-up following a divisive and bad-tempered summit of G7 nations in Canada last month.

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