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President Trump declares North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a 'fine-tuned machine' at conclusion of summit

12 July 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.

But all 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders including Trump backed a joint statement committing themselves to greater "burden sharing" and to the alliance's founding commitment that an attack on one member is an attack on them all - with no mention of the 4%.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also responded Wednesday to Trump's remarks, offering Trump something of a history lesson. Angela Merkel hit back at Trump's comments, saying "I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union". But at the bilateral meeting he exulted: "We have a very, very good relationship with the Chancellor".

Trump scolded leaders here and criticized some countries, including Germany and Spain, for failing to contribute more to their defenses and for relying too heavily on the largesse of the United States.

A source close to Macron said Trump had voiced his "personal attachment" to Europe and gave "rather positive and constructive messages" to his allies.

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Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, pictured here among alliance leaders, struck a diplomatic note about Mr Trump's outspoken calls for other countries to live up to their goal of spending 2 per cent of their economic output on defence.

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the USA now spends.

But Trump's claim that the U.S.is spending 4.2 percent of GDP is at odds with the Pentagon, which puts it at 3.3 percent.

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Merkel said it was very important to have such exchanges like the meeting she and Trump were having because "after all, we are partners".

He also said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week would be the "easiest" of the meetings he'll have while he's overseas.

The president is facing backlash for his repeated criticism of alliance members in contrast to his apparently friendly rhetoric toward Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin.

"I let them know that I was extremely unhappy", he said, but added that the talks had ended on the best of terms: "It all came together at the end".

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May tried to ease the tensions on Wednesday by announcing additional troops for NATO's Afghan training mission, Reuters reported.

President Trump declares North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a 'fine-tuned machine' at conclusion of summit