Trump issues blistering attacks on Germany at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation breakfast

Uneasy alliance Transatlantic partners prepare for contentious NATO summit

Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.

Trump, who is also in Brussels for the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, suggested that Germany should stop buying Russian natural gas, claiming that the trade amounts to Russia controlling Germany.

However, May welcomed Trump's decision to meet the Russian president, suggesting that it had the potential to ease tensions with the west and reduce the risk of future confrontation. Last year, the USA spent just 3.6 percent of its GDP on defense.

Not even the United States - which spends more money on defence than any other nation in the world - meets Trump's new goal of annual spending of 4 per cent of nations' gross domestic product. "And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

Diplomats were already anxious about the summit ahead of time, not least because of an abrasive G7 meeting last month, when Mr Trump renounced a summit communique that had previously been jointly agreed.

"This has gone on for many presidents". "So, I think that's inappropriate also".

"That's exactly why all allies agree that those who are spending less than 2% have to spend more and that's exactly what we have started to do". "That's not necessarily true for most of the European members of the alliance".

Germany presently spends about 1.2 percent on defense.

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The president and his fellow critics argue that if America does less, others will do more - that its largess facilitates free riders.

Trump said Germany had shut down coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds, increasing dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas. "And gas from Russian Federation to Germany is where the allies disagree".

The meeting brought together Mr Trump and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau, who irritated the U.S. president at the G7 by declaring that his country would not be pushed around.

"Because of given circumstances, I want to point out one thing: I experienced Soviet occupation of one part of Germany myself".

"We are stronger together than apart", Stoltenberg said.

Despite Russia's semi-pariah status among some Americans and USA allies, the Kremlin has always been trying to arrange a summit, betting that Putin and Trump will get on well and stop a sharp downwards spiral in bilateral ties.

"And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas". Since President Trump took office, he has been highly critical of the spending guideline put in place by the alliance. Each country decides how much it is going to spend and what it will spend on.

Again and again, Trump has pushed the idea that allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization owe the USA money.

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