Trump tells NATO allies to up military spending to 4 percent

Leroy Wright
July 12, 2018

Trump, at his first meeting of the summit - with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg - described the relationship between Germany and Russian Federation as "inappropriate". "We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg over breakfast in the U.S. embassy in Brussels, Trump said Germany was "captive to Russia" and criticised its failure to raise defence spending.

He also said that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week would be the "easiest" of the meetings he'll have while he's overseas.

"I've never seen a president say anything as odd or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Germany", Kerry began.

Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said Germany was independent in its policy choices in a pointed response to Trump saying Berlin was a "totally controlled by Russia".

Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that Germany is "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" because of a pipeline project.

Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, Trump sent letters to allies Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium blasting them for not spending enough on defense ― an oft-repeated criticism of the alliance.

Trump renewed his call for other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to pay in more to the Western alliance after years in which USA taxpayers have, he said, borne an "unfair" share of military spending.

Syrian air defences thwart Israeli missile strike in south
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow is ready to discuss the issue of supplying Syria with the S-300 missile system. Israel has warned Iran, which is allied with the Syrian government, against building up a military presence on its doorstep.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Trump claimed the pipeline project has made Germany "controlled" by and "captive to Russian Federation".

US President Trump criticises $11-billion Baltic Sea pipeline that will transport Russian gas to Germany.

He added that it's "not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're going to make it fair".

President Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, left, gesture during a heated bilateral breakfast on Wednesday in Brussels. "Well that's up to the people", Trump said.

The president touted that the United States lost $151 billion a year ago on trade and slapped tariffs on other countries in an effort towards free and fair trade.

"We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said. "I think it's very unfair to our country".

"I believe that our trade will increase and lots of other things will increase, but we'll see what happens".

Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections, and several high-level investigations are examining the possibility of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

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