NATO Meeting Ends With US Allies Promise to Reach Spending Target

Howard TerryJul 12, 2018

Berlin has given its blessing for the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will bring gas to Germany by way of the Baltic Sea.

Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press. The United States spends heavily to defend Germany from Russian Federation, he said, while Germany is paying "billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

Merkel replied by pointing out that Germany is one of the largest contributors of troops for NATO's missions.

A US official said Trump would be ready to talk about New Start if Putin raised it, but it was not a big USA priority.

Dmitry Kiselyov, presenter of Russia's main weekly TV news show "Vesti Nedeli", said Moscow had seen how Trump had received other leaders on home soil, showing footage of Trump holding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hand in a vice-like grip, brushing dandruff off French President Emmanuel Macron's shoulder and glowering next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

Mr Trump dominated the day and is set to stay in the spotlight as he visits the United Kingdom and prepares for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Yet Mr. Trump's warnings about the pipeline's strategic dimension would be more persuasive if he weren't also as busy as Mr. Schröder playing down the strategic threat posed by Mr. Putin.

Trump began his first and only full day in Belgium at a breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

'President Trump, who spoke first, raised the issue not only to achieve 2 percent, today, but a new barrier - 4 percent, ' Bulgarian President Rumen Radev told reporters, according to the wire service Reuters.

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump said, "Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made".

While Canada spends less than some, it has the best equipment interoperability in the alliance - meaning it's a reliable partner for the USA on missions overseas, he said. "If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russian Federation, because they supply...they got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation. We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

"A lot of porcelain's being broken at the moment and I think, unfortunately, it will take a while until things that have been broken are fixed again", said Sven Halldorn, 52. "So, I think that's inappropriate also".

A joint declaration said: "We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership".

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