Trump rattles North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, knocking its value and assailing Germany

U.S. President Donald Trump right listens to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels Belgium Thursday

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he had made no decision to increase defense spending. All NATO members agreed in 2014 to mandate spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense within 10 years, spending that effectively buys NATO protection.

"We're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", Trump said in the presence of reporters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg demurred when asked what Trump had accomplished, saying the allies "agree that we need to deliver on our commitments".

"We are not going to finance it for them but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy - because the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything". They're happy to do it. I mean, it is hard to overstate the change in the president's rhetoric.

Instead, a series of events a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

The president said he wanted to develop a relationship with Putin, which he said would be "good for Russian Federation, good for everybody".

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".

FORDHAM: Everyone that I spoke to was very keen to downplay any concerns, completely understandably.

Despite reports of tensions between Trump and some of the US's closest allies, the president insisted that relations between the leaders remain "very strong". He seemed to suggest a speeded-up timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip", which if it panned out would mark a significant milestone for the alliance.


"We understand this United States president is very serious about defence spending and this is having an impact", Stoltenberg said. Only eight countries expect to meet the target in 2018, he said.

Trump's last-minute Brussels news conference avoided a repeat of the Group of Seven summit in Canada last month, which blew up after Trump refused to sign on to a joint declaration and left the summit early to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "It confirms the goal of two percent by 2024".

"There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the United States and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead", May said in a statement released late Wednesday.

The NATO summit was an opportunity to follow up on EU-NATO cooperation.

Before anyone even arrived in Brussels, Belgium for Day One of the NATO Summit, Trump was already tweeting his allies about not putting up enough money for worldwide defense.

Trump was referring to the 1950s and 60s television series, where character Perry Mason represents a series of clients in hard circumstances and then usually manages to wring confessions from the real guilty party through skillful interrogation.

After leading allies to believe that the USA might abandon its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, President Trump reversed course at an impromptu press conference.

The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the USA pays more than others.

"Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation". Trump tweeted on Thursday morning before the second day of talks. "He obviously likes me and says very good things about me", he added.

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