Putin is a competitor, not an enemy, says Trump

Eileen GuzmanJul 13, 2018

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 USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked. Trump claimed victory after bitterly criticizing key allies, notably Germany, for failing to pay their way at one of the most fractious summits in Nato's 70-year history.

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. Trump: "The additional money that they're willing to put up has been really unbelievable ... " He then stunned allies by telling them to eventually double the figure to a punishing four per cent.

Macron said: There is a communique that was published yesterday.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations have accelerated future spending pledges under Mr. Trump's persistent pressure, with a goal of reaching 2 percent of GDP by 2024.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop previous year".

There is no penalty for not reaching the 2% goal; it's simply a guideline, and most member states have increased defense spending even if they haven't reached that goal quite yet.

He said the leaders of the alliance's 29 members met in an extraordinary session on Thursday morning at the request of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out USA allies on Twitter as he attended a second day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance.

"Somebody was saying, 'Is he an enemy?' He's not my 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.

But just days out from a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the mercurial U.S. leader threatened to throw the transatlantic alliance into disarray.

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.

"Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation". Trump tweeted an hour before the second day of the summit got under way.

Mr Trump said he didn't want Russian Federation to be a threat, while adding that his meeting with Mr Putin next week "may be the easiest on his Europe trip".

Although administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

The season finale is coming up at the Helsinki summit on Monday, and we'll see if Trump's behavior with Putin in person is as deferential as his rhetoric from afar.

"He was in a good mood, he said Europe was a continent he appreciated", Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said of Trump at the evening event, at which leaders enjoyed an acrobatic display and saxophone music in a Brussels park.

"It will be over a relatively short period of years", Trump said. He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip".

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