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Donald Trump again says he’s a ‘very stable genius’ at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

13 July 2018

US military leaders called their European counterparts to assure them that bases in their countries will remain open and troop levels will not be reduced, after Trump's threat to reassess commitments while speaking with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, NBC News reported, citing officials familiar with the telephone calls. Going into the week he was pressuring them to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, a figure that was established in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2014 when the allies not meeting the target pledged to reach it within a decade.

At present, not even the United States spends 4% of GDP on defense with only five - USA, UK, Estonia, Poland, and Greece - out of NATO's 29 members now meeting the agreed defense spending target of 2% GDP set for countries to meet by 2024 in accordance with a 2014 agreement.

Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor, James Bays, reporting from the Belgian capital, however, said that based on interviews with sources, "nothing it seems, in the closed-door meeting, was resolved". "Since President Trump was in Brussels last spring allies have added 41 billion extra for defence spending".

Macron, however, disputed the remarks in a news conference and said there were no such arrangements.

Earlier Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt backed Mr Trump's demands for allies which were not hitting the 2% target to do more.

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"Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline", Trump said to reporters Wednesday morning, calling the alleged dependence on Russian energy "inappropriate".

"Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart", the president tweeted.

Trump also singled out Germany over its low-levels of defense spending - it now spends 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense - and renewed his criticism of a controversial gas pipeline deal between Germany and Russian Federation made a day earlier.

Interviewed before he left Brussels for the U.K, Trump accused May of ruining what her country stands to gain from its Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

The summit's dramatic, chaotic conclusion - complete with the USA president suddenly making demands following a formal communique - bore a striking similarity to Trump's departure from last month's G7 meetings in Quebec. Trump also prepared to make a previously unscheduled public statement, the White House said. But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter.

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The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the United States pays more than others.

Trump heads to Britain on Thursday, where the government is in crisis over Brexit and where tensions with Russian Federation have spiked after London blamed Moscow for the death this month of a British woman from contact with the Novichok nerve agent.

The tough rhetoric against a core ally comes just days before Trump is set to meet one-on-one with Putin in Finland. On Thursday, Trump said he wasn't troubled by the planned protests.

Democrats railed against Trump's European tour, and said they were wary of the upcoming, one-on-one meeting with Putin.

Trump's trip to Britain will test the bonds of the U.S. and U.K.'s special relationship.

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Several diplomats and officials said, however, that his undiplomatic intervention - including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as "you, Angela" - had irritated many.