Germany is 'captive' of Russia: Trump at Nato summit

BRUSSELS: US President Donald Trump launched a blistering assault on Germany firstly of a traumatic Nato summit Wednesday, accusing Berlin of being "captive" to Russia and significant it and different allies instantly step up defence spending.

The two-day meet in Brussels was already shaping up to be the alliance's most tricky in years, with Europe and the United States engaged in a sour business spat and Trump demanding that Nato allies "reimburse" Washington for the cost of defending the continent.

European allliance members had been braced for criticism from Trump on defence spending, however his livid tirade at what must have been an amicable breakfast meeting appeared to take even Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg by way of surprise.

"Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia," Trump said, taking explicit purpose at the proposed Nord Stream II pipeline.

"Everybody's talking about it all over the world, they're saying we're paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you're paying billions of dollars to Russia."

Trump has long complained that European Nato members don't pay enough for their own defence, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for explicit criticism.

Europe's largest financial system spends simply 1.24 percent of GDP on defence, when compared with 3.five percent for the United States, smartly underneath the Nato guideline of two percent.

"We're protecting Germany, France and everybody... this has been going on for decades," Trump said. "We're not going to put up with it and it's inappropriate."

Nato officers and diplomats will attempt to advertise an image of cohesion at the summit in the face of growing unease in regards to the threat from Russia, however after Trump's assault it is going to turn out diffcult to paper over the cracks.

The mercurial multi-millionaire said earlier than leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin + on Monday "may be the easiest" a part of his European tour, which also includes a shuttle to Britain, the place the government is in crisis over Brexit.

And he vowed to not be "taken advantage" of by way of the European Union, which he accuses of depending on the United States for defence whilst restricting US imports into the bloc, the world's largest market.

The meeting of 29 Western leaders has the possible to descend into any other public bust-up following a divisive and bad-tempered summit of G7 countries in Canada remaining month.

Trump ramped up his rhetoric forward of the talks, explicitly linking Nato with the transatlantic business row.

"The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through Nato, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn't work!" he tweeted as he arrived in Brussels late on Tuesday.

European officers have expressed hopes that Nato members can bridge their variations however EU President Donald Tusk launched his own salvo in opposition to Trump on Tuesday.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many," Tusk said, earlier than reminding Trump that European troops had come to America's assist following the September 11, 2001 assaults on the United States.

"Please remember this tomorrow when we meet at the Nato summit, but above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem," he said.

Trump will meet the Russian leader in the Finnish capital on July 16 for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the United States into conceivable Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

European diplomats worry a repeat of the G7, when Trump clashed with his Western allies, withdrawing from a joint statement and calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "dishonest and weak" + earlier than meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at a summit afterwards and praising him as "very talented".

There have been fears that Trump, keen to be noticed to make a breakthrough with the Kremlin strongman, might make concessions that may weaken Western cohesion over issues similar to Ukraine and Syria.

Trump set the stage for clashes at the summit by way of writing to around a dozen allies to berate them for lagging on a 2014 pledge to take a look at to spend two percent of GDP on defence by way of 2024.

US ambassador to Nato Kay Bailey Hutchison told journalists that Trump would also recommit to some of the founding articles of Nato — Article five — which holds that an assault on one member is an assault on them all.

Germany is 'captive' of Russia: Trump at Nato summit Germany is 'captive' of Russia: Trump at Nato summit Reviewed by kailash soni on July 11, 2018 Rating: 5
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