At NATO, Trump slams Germany as Russian 'captive'

11 Julio, 2018, 15:25 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Flake's advice to Trump on Putin meeting

"It certainly doesn't seem to make sense that they paid billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia", Trump said, setting off an impromptu debate with Stoltenberg, who maintained that "despite these differences", North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies "have always been able to unite around our core task to protect and defend each other".

The dramatic exchange came during a breakfast gathering with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that opened the alliance's meeting, when Trump said that Germany was "totally controlled by Russia" and "captive to Russia" because of its dependence on natural gas and deals with Moscow like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

Trump also will meet French President Emanuel Macron.

Sitting at the table with the president were Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, Trump defended his public reprimanding of allied countries over their defense spending.

"President Trump has a very direct language and message on defence spending, but fundamentally we all agree that we need fair burden sharing", Stoltenberg said on his arrival at the summit. New Poll says Trump, at over 90%, is the most popular Republican in history of the Party.

At the pre-summit breakfast meeting he launched straight back to his theme.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation because they'll be getting 60 to 70% of their energy from Russian Federation and a new pipeline", Trump told Stoltenberg.

Trump touched down in Brussels aboard Air Force One hot on the heels of a stern warning from the EU's top official that America should "appreciate" its allies.

"I look forward to having words with President Trump, having a conversation with him, as I always do", the prime minister told reporters before he left Latvia following a whirlwind visit to the Baltic State, where Canada has 455 troops deployed as part of NATO's Operation Reassurance.

"European troops have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan; 870 courageous men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland, Poland", said Mr. Tusk.

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Trump set the stage for clashes at the summit by writing to around a dozen allies to berate them for lagging on a 2014 pledge to try to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024.

But in a bid to appease the USA president, they also vow to "submit credible national plans on its implementation".

"This is a national decision", Stoltenberg said.

Though the insult will hardly engender warmth from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump is due to meet later today, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen seemed relatively unperturbed.

In Europe this year, four countries will meet the 2 percent target - compared with three last year - and another two nations will reach it if the figures are rounded up to one decimal place. In recent weeks, various European leaders have also threatened to retaliate against USA tariffs and filed complaints to the World Trade Organization.

Trump's weeklong trip to Europe will continue with a stop in Scotland before ending with a sit-down in Helsinki with Putin.

Of his meetings in Brussels and Britain and with Putin, he said: "Frankly, [the meeting with] Putin may be the easiest of them all - who would think?"

Trump complimented Stoltenberg, saying "he's worked very hard on this problem".

It was an unusual criticism coming from Trump, who has appeared eager to cozy up to Putin and who has dismissed the USA intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to help Trump win.

"After all, you don't have that many", warned European Council President Donald Tusk.

'You tell me if that's appropriate because I think it's not. "We're not going to put up with it, we cant put up with it", he said.

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