Trump, Merkel trade barbs over Russian Federation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Trump, Merkel trade barbs over Russian Federation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Trump made the suggestion on the first day of a two-day summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels, a senior US administration official said.

According to the declaration, all Allies have started to increase the amount they spend on defense in real terms and some two-thirds of Allies have national plans in place to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense by 2024.

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg over breakfast in the USA embassy in Brussels, Trump said Germany was "captive to Russia" and criticised its failure to raise defence spending. "And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation", he said.

Allies were aware of Trump's grievances ahead of the summit, but he specifically rattled Germany ahead of his full day of meetings in Brussels when he called them out over the controversial $12 billion proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russian Federation and Germany and suggested it puts the entire historic alliance in question. Today, he had this new argument that because Germany is somewhat dependent on Russian Federation for its energy supplies - in particular, this natural gas deal that they struck three years ago - that somehow, that makes Germany captive to Vladimir Putin and Moscow.

Mr Trump earlier claimed that Germany was "captive to Russia".

"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions". Trump and Merkel later held businesslike talks on the sidelines of the summit.

Since his inauguration, Trump has argued that fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been leaving the United States to foot the bill for their joint defense.

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"We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor".

Trump later softened his tone on Germany, saying during a press conference with Merkel that the US has a "tremendous relationship" with its European ally.

"We call upon [North Korea] to fully implement its global obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related programmes", the statement said.

Merkel said she raised issues of migration and economic development with Trump. "In that, we also defend the interests of the United States". So I think the secretary-general likes Trump.

Praising new initiatives to build capacity, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg estimated that as much as 266 billion additional USA dollars would be spent by European allies and Canada on defense by 2024.

He said the deal meant that Germany was now "totally controlled" by Moscow. And Stoltenberg, the secretary-general, sort of pushed back against this argument, that this is all a dead-weight loss for American taxpayers.

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