‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

12 July, 2018, 03:41 | Author: Dominic Spencer
  • Since becoming president of the US Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised NATO allies over funding

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders are still concerned that he will make concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two meet on Monday in Helsinki.

Mr Trump dominated the day and is set to stay in the spotlight as he visits the United Kingdom and prepares for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The United States pays about 67 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, more than any other nation, although only 3.5 percent is NATO-related.

Not even the U.S. - which spends more money on defence than any other nation in the world - meets Trump's new goal of annual spending of 4 per cent of nations' gross domestic product.

He singled out Germany, which pays 1.2 percent, during a breakfast meeting in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and questioned why the country would embark on an energy deal with Russian Federation.

His comments come only hours before he's due to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel on the side lines of the summit in Brussels.

"This has gone on for many presidents". Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent".

In a bid to avoid a row, Stoltenberg replied: "Nato is an alliance of 29 nations and there are sometimes differences..."

Germany indeed devotes only about 1.25 percent of its GDP to defense. "After the attacks of 9/11, we called on Germany's leadership to send troops to fight with us in Afghanistan".


Schumer's warning comes a day after Trump said his easiest meeting on his foreign trip to Europe over the next week could be his sit-down with Putin.

The president and his fellow critics argue that if America does less, others will do more - that its largess facilitates free riders. "But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved".

Mr. Trump specifically cited soybeans as an example of how American farmers are struggling. Germany, France, Britain and Italy combined pay 43.8 percent of the total. "I think it's not".

The NATO chief was also frank about the impact of Trump's stance at a broader level. "We look forward to the meeting you're going to have with President Putin. And I think that leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".

Stoltenberg, who is a former Norwegian prime minister and not German, told Trump that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War, the Post reported. The former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas.

Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country.

"The point she's making is that you can see the list of activities she points to, the way Russian Federation are behaving, and she's saying firstly that it's important that there's a price to pay for this, and we work together as allies to make sure that's enforced".

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