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Donald Trump: 'Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago'

12 July 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. In a series of tweets from the Belgian capital, Mr. Trump said, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

On both matters, Republican senators said they agreed with Trump's message. "And I am very happy that today we are united in freedom", Merkel said.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations".

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

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold.

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He continued: "Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago".

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "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".

Fox Business' Brittany De Lea contributed to this article.

"They have pledged to spend more", Smith concluded, "they are not freeloaders".

Since President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement, European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to maintain the nuclear curbs required in the deal. "On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent [on defense]... and I think that is inappropriate also", Trump said.

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Allies were aware of Trump's grievances ahead of the summit, but he specifically rattled Germany ahead of his full day of meetings in Brussels when he called them out over the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany and suggested it puts the entire historic alliance in question.

He demanded that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product on defense - a bigger share than even the United States now pays, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statistics.

Trump has described the spending situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States". "But it could lead to productive - something very productive, and maybe it's not".

From Brussels, Mr. Trump heads to England, where May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union. "I hope we get along well, I think we'll get along well, but ultimately he's a competitor".

But Trump appeared earlier to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply Berlin was funding a pipeline that Chancellor Angela Merkel says is a commercial venture.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to set the tone on Wednesday by announcing more troops for NATO's Afghan training mission.

Donald Trump: 'Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago'