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Canada part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation communique affirming defence spending target despite PM's remarks

13 July 2018

During brief remarks to reporters, he mostly praised Trump's approach.

Alliances and friendships are being sorely tested at the meeting of world leaders.

We'll have more on President Trump, NATO, Russia and the protests in the United Kingdom after headlines.

"The question [on] all sides is not just a tactical one, that is, how to resolve a disagreement, but a strategic one", says Stephen Sestanovich, a senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Trump tweeted this morning before the second day of talks.

Dr. Claudia Major, a researcher at the German Institute for International Security affairs, said that Germany, in particular, does more for the alliance than spend on its own defense, including deploying troops to Afghanistan, "and eventually, two percent is an arbitrary measurement that does not say much about efficiency and output".

But the vehemence of Trump's on-camera breakfast attack on Germany for its backing of a second Nord Stream gas pipeline, and for being "captive" to Russian Federation came as a shock.

Hours later, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met privately and discussed the pipeline, each reaffirming the partnership between the USA and Germany.

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump on Wednesday also turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russian Federation, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russian Federation.

Trump claimed member nations had agreed to boost their defense budgets significantly and reaffirmed - after days of griping that the US was being taken advantage of by its allies - that the USA remains faithful to the accord.

Nato's secretary-general said the main focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2% of GDP. Washington has since told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 or face USA financial measures.

President Trump speaks to the media at a press conference on the second day of the 2018 NATO Summit Thursday in Brussels, Belgium. He added that Putin was "not my enemy" and "hopefully, someday, he'll be a friend".

The tough rhetoric against a core ally comes just days before Trump is set to meet one-on-one with Putin in Finland.

Member states had already agreed, dating back in 2014, to increase their base level defense spending to 2 percent.

Macron and others said they did not interpret Trump's words as a direct threat to quit the alliance Washington founded in 1949 to contain Soviet expansion. "It's very detailed", Macron said, according to the Associated Press. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more. "The additional money they will be putting up has been really wonderful".

"He said they must raise spending by January 2019 or the United States would go it alone", one person said of the clash at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters when Trump spoke in a debate that was meant to move to other matters after rows over spending on Wednesday.

In a chaotic 28 hours at NATO, President Donald Trump disparaged longtime allies, cast doubt on his commitment to the mutual-defence organization and sent the 29-member pact into frenzied emergency session. "Secretary Stoltenberg gives us total credit, meaning me, I guess, in this case, total credit".

Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, "We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren't so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment, and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit", he told a news conference. "I'm very consistent", he replied.

Stoltenberg stopped short of agreeing with Trump that allied leaders agreed to substantially increase their contributions to the alliance.

Canada part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation communique affirming defence spending target despite PM's remarks