Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

Merkel responds to Trump: 'I have witnessed' Germany under Soviet control

Merkel responds to Trump: 'I have witnessed' Germany under Soviet control

"And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas".

'We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation.

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on US taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II.

Trump's remarks on Germany and Russian Federation generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to NATO's most recent report detailing members' defense expenditures, only five countries now satisfy that threshold: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia.

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defence spending ambitions. We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

During the president's remarks, he suggested countries not only meet their minimum commitment of 2 percent but increase it to 4 percent, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary said in a statement.

While he then went over the top in saying "Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Mr. Trump's rant is an accurate summary of Berlin's role in the Nord Stream 2 project. In remarks to reporters, Trump said the United States has a "tremendous relationship with Germany" and Merkel noted that "we are good partners".

Colbert responded: "I would think".

Trump did not say 70 to 90 percent of what. Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?

Trump has promoted exports of USA natural gas to Europe as an alternative to Russian Federation as a supply source, although US gas is far more costly because of the expense of shipping it. Though she said that Germany did have "a lot of issues with Russian Federation", she noted that it was important to "keep the communication line between countries or alliances and opponents" open.

While NATO members increased overall defense spending in 2017, for a second consecutive year, the United States was still largely outspending all other members. "German unification and the unity of Europe - this had a lot to do with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", she said, noting that Germany also contributed much to the alliance.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, $11-billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, despite qualms among other European Union states.

Trump and Merkel later held businesslike talks on the sidelines of the summit. There isn't a penalty for not meeting it, but Trump has repeatedly castigated Germany in particular for not spending enough, in his view, on defense. But the figure is far short of what Trump demanded, with only a handful of the allies meeting their commitment.

The alliance lists the spending an estimated 3.5 percent of its GDP on its military budget this year.

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