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NATO Summit Overshadowed by Defense Spending Spat

13 July 2018

The tweet came in response to the joint declaration issued by the governments of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members that condemned "Russia's recent activities and policies". The U.S. provides 70 percent of NATO's budget. "It is vital that even the most private meetings between leaders not be lost to history", Flake said. Putin has denied meddling in the election when Trump raised it before.

"Things got off to a rocky start at a breakfast meeting with the NATO Secretary General, where Trump complained that he wants other countries to spend more for defense".

Asked about Trump's suggestion, Stoltenberg said he'll focus on what's been agreed to.

Trump said he and Merkel also talked about the pipeline project that he railed about during a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, but would not comment on what they discussed.

Any such increase would be almost impossible for smaller countries in Europe to achieve, and it is not clear that the capitals of Europe could muster the public or political support for such breathtaking increases in defense spending.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop previous year".

US officials told Reuters that the White House is preparing another review of strategy in Afghanistan, just a year after Trump hesitantly extended the involvement in America's longest war.

"There is a great collegial atmosphere in that room, that I don't think they've had for many years". "He may be the only one, but that's okay with me", he told reporters as the summit began.

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

He was remarking on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project that would bring natural gas from Russian Federation into northern Germany. British troops ended combat operations in 2014.

"Could we possibly be helping him any more in his quest than by baselessly attacking our own allies?"

"As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality", she said.

Singling out Germany isn't necessarily fair, said defense analyst Sophia Besch of the Center for European Reform.

"People are paying money than they've never paid before", Trump said, but failed to provide details on when allied countries would increase their commitment.

The feud over defense spending looks set to overshadow other business at the two-day summit. The UK announced on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, that it would almost double the number of troops it deploys to Afghanistan.

A joint summit declaration issued Wednesday underlined NATO's support for Ukraine and its aspirations for membership of the alliance, pending domestic reforms.

NATO Summit Overshadowed by Defense Spending Spat