Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have agreed to increase defence spending

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Later Mr Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel had a face-to-face meeting, where the row continued. That report is backed up by the Washington Post, but both newspapers say those in the meeting were unsure exactly what the threat meant-a United States pullout or maybe a lesser American role?

"We made a tremendous amount of progress today since a year ago", Trump said during a surprise news conference Thursday.

He said the United Kingdom contributes $61 billion, Germany $51 billion and Canada "an embarrassing" $21 billion.

Breaking from a carefully scripted session that was to focus on Ukraine and Georgia, one source said Trump "forcibly restated his position on wanting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to reach 2 percent spending target to a short a deadline".

But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on United States taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the U.S. role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II. EURACTIV broke the story. "We're discussing military expenditure. talking about trade", Trump told reporters who were allowed into the meeting room.

The good news for those anxious about the United States commitment to NATO under President Trump is that Trump declared, "I believe in NATO" Thursday during a summit-ending press conference, reports the New York Times.

But Trump has repeatedly complained about allied spending on defence since his arrival at the summit, insisting it had to be made fair.

The US leader has also singled out Germany for particular criticism over its defence spending.


Trump also singled out Germany over its low-levels of defense spending - it now spends 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense - and renewed his criticism of a controversial gas pipeline deal between Germany and Russian Federation made a day earlier.

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

There have been fears that Trump, keen to be seen to make a breakthrough with the Kremlin strongman, might make concessions that would weaken Western unity over issues like Ukraine and Syria.

Trump was objecting to Germany's acceptance of a new pipeline project that will bring more natural gas from Russian Federation.

The substance is the same military-grade toxin that almost killed a former Russian spy and his daughter in an earlier attack that Britain also blamed on Moscow. "He may be the only one, but that's OK with me".

Officials at the meeting said Trump broke with diplomatic protocol by addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her first name, telling her: "Angela, you need to do something about this".

Funding has averaged about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met.

A pair of GOP senators who have been more critical of Trump's foreign policy took a separate trip to Europe over the July Fourth recess.

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