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Trump hails 'tremendous progress' on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence spending

13 July 2018

The president replied, "I think I probably can, but that's unnecessary".

"At the end of the day, however, I know that the relations between the United States and Canada militarily are going to continue to be superb".

From left to right: Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Donald TRUMP, President of the United States of America. And there was definitely a feeling that the foundations of this kind of vast edifice, this thing that people believe in more than ever, were a bit wobbly. "It was a very intense day".

Before arriving a half hour late to the final day of meetings on Thursday, Trump tweeted that "the USA pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe", that Germany's oil and gas pipeline with Russian Federation is "not acceptable", and that allies must not only all reach the 2 percent defense spending guideline, but double that to 4 percent.

The President singled out Germany for particular criticism over low spending, accusing the nation of being a "captive" of Russian Federation because of a multibillion-dollar pipeline deal.

After an opening day of summit talks marked by clashes between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO leaders had hoped to focus on policy on Ukraine and Afghanistan.

"I'm sorry, they're for White House staff", they were told as they tried to grab vacant seats at the front.

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That 2024 goal had been set in 2014.

He had thrown the summit into crisis by demanding countries meet a spending target of 2 per cent of gross domestic product immediately, instead of by 2024, and to eventually double spending to 4 per cent.

German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the US gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.

He denied that the U.S. President Donald Trump had been aggressive in his demands to make members up their spending.

"There is a communiqué that was published yesterday. It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the Associated Press. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union.

Other leaders, however, played down the extent to which they went beyond existing commitments to increase contributions to their own defence, as Trump demanded they share more of what he calls an unfair burden on US taxpayers in funding an alliance focused on discouraging pressure from a resurgent Moscow. He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an "excellent" prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May's Brexit plans.

Trump, asked if he thought he could withdraw from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation without backing from Congress, said he believed he could but it was "unnecessary".

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Trump reportedly went into the summit urging other members to bump that up to 4 percent.

"The people voted to break it up (Britain's ties with the EU)", Trump told a press conference in Brussels on Thursday. 'Is he your friend?' No, I don't know him well enough, but the couple of times I got to meet him we got on very well.

"The relationship is very strong", Trump insisted, though he did not directly answer questions about the Sun interview.

On Friday, Trump will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II and then spend the weekend at one of his private golf courses in Scotland.

The fresh indictments related to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe come amid Trump's United Kingdom visit, and just hours after he once again called the investigation a "witch hunt".

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

Officials said that non-members of the alliance had been asked to leave the room early Thursday and that everyone in the room had been told to leave their phones outside.

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"Everyone in the room understood we would be coming to a disaster if we did not resolve this situation today", one of the officials present for the conversation said.

Trump hails 'tremendous progress' on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence spending