Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump's Blistering Criticism of NATO Continues Ahead Of Putin Meeting

Trump's Blistering Criticism of NATO Continues Ahead Of Putin Meeting

While U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison has said that the plan for this year's summit is to focus on strategies to counter Russia, Trump may spend the day berating member countries on defense spending.

"Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made", he said, tweeting from the air en route to a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.

The Trump administration has tried to compete with Russia in the energy sector in Europe, but relies on shipping tankers of natural gas and oil, which a pipeline like the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 would likely undercut.

He added that it's "not fair to the taxpayers of the United States and we're going to make it fair".

"I expect open and frank discussions, and there are disagreements on different issues", he said as he arrived at NATO's gleaming new headquarters for the summit. -NATO meeting ahead of the summit, according to Reuters.

"Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending", Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.

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The European Union is firing back at President Donald Trump's criticisms.

In a heated meeting in Brussels with the leaders of NATO, Trump claimed that Moscow now basically controls Berlin due to their dependence on it for energy.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

Trump said Germany's closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas.

And he vowed not to be "taken advantage" of by the European Union, which he accuses of relying on the United States for defence while restricting USA imports into the bloc, the world's biggest market. Trump's first words signalled this one is not going to be like this.

John Kelly, Mr Trump's chief of staff, and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, sat silently alongside Mr Trump as he delivered the criticism across the table to Mr Stoltenberg.

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Mr Stoltenberg also stressed how "even during the Cold War, NATO allies were trading with Russia".

Mr Tusk also said that the U.S. did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

"Men like him, who look after the interests of their own citizens - we could do with dozens of them in this country", Mr. Salvini said.

"But how can you be together when you're getting energy from the group you want protection from?" the president asked. The president criticized Germany in particular, calling it a hostage of Russian Federation.

The NATO summit is also being attended by leaders of so-called NATO partner states that are not members of the alliance.

Of his meetings in Brussels and Britain and with Putin, he said: "Frankly, [the meeting with] Putin may be the easiest of them all - who would think?"

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