Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries should ´reimburse´ U.S. for defense costs

Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries should ´reimburse´ U.S. for defense costs

President Trump's hard-line trade advisor Peter Navarro piled on Germany for its trade practices hours after the president blasted the longtime USA ally as 'totally controlled by Russian Federation'.

"We should first get to two percent", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do so - turning a leaf on years of defence budget cuts.

A White House spokeswoman said his remarks came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defence and were not a formal proposal.

The unexpected demand from Trump during a closed-door meeting of heads of state laid down a new, virtually unachievable marker for a peacetime military spending in an alliance already struggling to meet current defense spending commitments.

Trump arrived on the back of a barrage of criticism of Europe on issues ranging from trade to energy and above all his claims that the continent freeloads on the back of America for its defence.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said on Wednesday during a meeting with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general. "We're protecting everybody. And yet we're paying a lot of money to protect".


Washington repeated a warning on Wednesday to Western firms invested in Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe.

German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the US gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed. A source close to Macron said Trump had voiced his "personal attachment" to Europe and gave "rather positive and constructive messages" to his allies. Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the USA president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods.

The 29 allies are due to restate a commitment to try to spend two percent of GDP on defense by 2024, according to excerpts of their final summit declaration seen by AFP.

'Germany is totally controlled by Russian Federation, ' he charged. We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans. Allies will deliver on fairer burden-sharing, he said, pointing out that European Allies and Canada are expected to spend an extra $266 billion on defence between now and 2024.

Like this: