Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

Trump says Putin "competitor" not "enemy"

Trump says Putin

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

Romania will spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, and Iohannis said other members "will try to spend more than 2 percent".

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment", Trump said without elaborating.

Responding to reports that he had threatened to leave the alliance if no major increase in spending was visible, Trump said "that is unnecessary" because of all the commitments for more spending he saw around the table.

"Trump has pointed to several countries, especially Germany", the first source said, adding that there was "hard language, with repeated references to Germany" and even to the German chancellor, "calling her Angela".

French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit atmosphere was "much calmer than everyone had said" and he saw a will to maintain the unity of the alliance, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Trump was "constructive".

Asked if the issue could cloud Monday's Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki, Peskov said its agenda would include many conflicting issues.

"Is he my enemy?"

"Trump said things plainly, as it normal between friends and allies. I'm very strong on immigration".

"We need to look at the history of Putin, whether he's been a reliable energy supplier or whether he's used energy for geopolitical pressure, which he has", Bloomfield said.


"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".

Trump is scheduled to meet Putin in Finland on July 16. He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip".

The initiative has raised concerns in Europe, where some see increased weapons sales as a key goal of Trump's repeated calls for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to increase their military spending.

Currently, all leaders were in a "confused state" because everyone was wondering what the condition for the four per cent meant, and the extent to which Trump was serious, Radev said.

As to whether he could unilaterally pull the US out of the alliance without congressional approval, Trump said, "I think I probably can, but that's not necessary".

"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News.

But Trump has repeatedly complained about allied spending on defence since his arrival at the summit, insisting it had to be made fair.

Freeland said she had a "good conversation" with the Danish foreign minister because the pipeline "is an issue that touches very much on Denmark".

The Kremlin says a new prospective natural gas pipeline to Germany will help increase regional stability and strengthen ties between Russian Federation and the West. And we made clear, well, I made clear for myself and others also made it clear, that we are on this path, which is in our own interest and can make us overall stronger.

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