Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries should ´reimburse´ United States for defense costs

11 July, 2018, 08:00 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Moscow drafts a blueprint for the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki

Responding to criticism from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, who complained that Trump is "criticizing Europe nearly daily", Trump says the United States is "being taken advantage of" by the European Union.

The meeting comes ahead of Mr Trump's four-day working visit to the United Kingdom, during which he will hold talks with Mrs May at Chequers, meet the Queen in Windsor Castle and spend two days in Scotland preparing for Monday's face-to-face summit with Mr Putin in Finland.

Mr Trump's ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, was offering a slightly different spin - suggesting a positive summit in Brussels could help Mr Trump be tough with Mr Putin.

At one point, Trump was asked if Putin should be considered a friend or foe.

"I really can't say right now". "As far as I'm concerned, a competitor".

As he left the White House to travel to Europe on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump had more harsh words for the multi-country military alliance that was has been a punching bag throughout his campaign and into his presidency.

"We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said.

"You have to wonder why the Europeans profess so much interest in the health of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and worry so much about the Russian threat and then they can't meet the pretty low 2 percent of GDP figure that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation agreed to recently".

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United States allies who want to isolate Putin, such as Britain, or who are concerned about Trump's attitude towards Russian Federation are likely to be irritated by such a summit.

In March, NATO released the figures for 2017 and only a handful of countries hit or bettered the two percent target. We believe that the NATO alliance strengthens America because we speak with 29 voices to a Russian Federation that is one, to an Iran that is one, to a North Korea that is one.

At the time, Trump ignored his national security advisers and congratulated Putin on what was widely believed to be a sham reelection victory.

The United Kingdom, with its eye on Brexit, is most likely to side with Mr. Trump, said Michael C. Desch, director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. "Today Europe spends on defence many times more than Russian Federation and as much as China".

"The UK has itself on a number of occasions urged everybody to work towards meeting that 2% target, which we of course do meet and exceed".

Trump's weeklong trip to Europe will continue with a stop in Scotland before ending with a sit-down in Helsinki with Putin, whose country the US intelligence community has concluded interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

Tusk reminded Trump that the first time NATO's mutual defense clause to assist other members under attack came after the terror attacks on 9/11 and that 870 European troops have fought and died in Afghanistan. "We want to strive for a better relationship", Stoltenberg said.

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