Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

During a heated breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday, Trump said Germany pays billions of dollars to Russian Federation and "we have to defend them against Russian Federation".

"Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back", Mr. Trump said at the breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the residence of the USA ambassador to Belgium. The former US secretary of state and MA senator questioned if the president, who has long railed against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, understood the "huge difference" the group has made for the United States and Europe.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump predicted his meetings with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members might be more contentious than his Helsinki summit with Putin on Monday.

The president was calling out the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, which would bypass Eastern European nations and double the amount of gas that Russian Federation can pipe directly to Germany. Despite Merkel's tough talk over Russia's annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, she has defended the $11 billion pipeline deal to supply her country's energy shortfall.

Trump is reportedly considering imposing sanctions on the five European countries involved in the pipeline project.

'You tell me if that's appropriate because I think it's not.

She recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said she was "very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany".

Instead, Trump blistered NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg over NATO defense spending and Germany's close relationship with Russian Federation.

During a meeting with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday, President Trump said countries should increase defense spending to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) - double the current target of 2%.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have committed to spending 2 percent of their respective GDPs on defense by 2024. The spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. "Well that's up to the people", Trump said.

After joking that his breakfast with Trump at the US ambassador's residence had been paid by the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the Western allies at a broader level.

"We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".

"I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", he told Mr. Trump. "The good news is that allies have started to invest more in defense".

The EU president then directly addressed Trump, "who for a long time now has been criticizing Europe nearly daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defense capabilities, and for living off the United States".

Not while Donald Trump is President.

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