Theresa May warns Trump not to split North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by appeasing Putin

12 Julio, 2018, 14:18 | Author: Gregg Anderson
  • Trump NATO Breakfast

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.

Trump has taken particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which is set to run from Russian Federation to Germany under the Baltic Sea. So, in a stroke, he shifted attention away from his own ties to the Kremlin just days before he meets one-on-one with Putin.

The US president was similarly effusive when he met German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she had "experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good".

However, a formal summit declaration issued by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the 2 per cent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 per cent.

"Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations", Sarah Sanders told reporters A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron also played down Trump's words as rhetoric, saying "it is not a new demand".

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on U.S. taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II. Trump tweeted an hour before the second day of the summit got under way.

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Germany, Europe's biggest economy, spends just 1.24 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent for the US.

Trump has repeatedly slammed Merkel for supporting a new pipeline that would cement Berlin's client relationship with Russian Federation and increase Moscow's influence.

But she insisted there must be "unity and strength" in the military alliance and he must not skirt issues like the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia.

There are flashpoints between the two leaders on a series of fronts - including Mr Trump's jibe that Britain is "in turmoil" and praise of Boris Johnson after his resignation over the PM's Brexit plans.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to set the tone on Wednesday by announcing more troops for NATO's Afghan training mission.

"I think we should first get to 2 percent, focus on that now. the good thing is that we are moving to that", NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told reporters, without speaking directly to Trump's comments.

But Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

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