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Trump whips allies by asking them to double the target of military spending

At the start of the NATO summit, US president Donald Trump criticizes Berlin paying millions of dollars a year to Moscow for its gas

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Trump whips allies by asking them to double the target of military spending

The world is becoming increasingly insecure, challenges in allied countries ' neighborhood are multiplying, but Trump's warmonger rhetoric impedes any serene debate about what alliance's priorities should be. The leaders ' meeting that began on Wednesday in Brussels was bruced with Trump's initial comments during a breakfast with secretary general of Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg. Aware that it was being recorded, Trump accused Germany of being "captive" in Moscow because it depends on supply of Russian gas.

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As in or occasions, American president opted to mix different concepts with same objective: Vapulear to main economic power of EU (and second NATO). "Germany is fully controlled by Russia because it will obtain between 60% and 70% of energy through new gas pipeline", shot without Trump nuances, in reference to Nord Stream 2 project, which will expand Germanic capacity to receive gas directly from Russia, No intermediaries.

Although critique was of coarse stroke, American tycoon had right to delve into a wound that divides European Union itself. The eastern partners reproach Merkel for her approval of this project — technically a private, but strategically valuable, initiative — and try to curb it in Brussels. Officially, to prevent energy dependence of Moscow from growing.

With a much quieter tone, Chancellor Germain rejected that Russian dependence and recalled that she, who lived in former German Democratic Republic, knew what it meant to depend on Kremlin.

After se messages were aired, Trump and Merkel held a bilateral meeting on fringes of Allied encounter. Although knowledgeable sources of this meeting strove to describe it as much more serene than public messages, Trump continued to reproach German participation in that pipeline and crossed project of "ridiculous". Despite se references, meeting was almost entirely focused on commercial battle that Washington has opened against several blocs, particularly against EU (and Germany as a symbol).

These quarrels did not prevent Trump and Merkel from appearing briefly to try to reassure world about health of relationship. The president described it as "tremendous" and Merkel merely enumerated treated issues and recalled that both countries are "allies, with a strategic relationship." The icy gestural language that accompanied those words was more eloquent than any of m.

In video, Merkel responds to Trump's statements. AP/Video: REUTERS-QUALITY

Despite se tensions in Prolegomena, session started off normally and re was no discomfort in room, according to sources consulted. The Bulgarian President, Rumen Radef, was responsible for telling press that Trump was first to intervene and that he did so with a surprising proposal. Not content to demand that all allies spend 2% of ir GDP on defense as soon as possible, he advocated raising that goal to 4%. Currently, only eight countries (including United States, which allocate 3.6%) reach first percentage, to which Allies promised to tend — not necessarily reach — for 2024.

Mission in Iraq

Asked for that figure, Stoltenberg preferred not to pronounce. The Secretary-General admitted that Alliance lives "differences, arguments and disagreements" in his bosom, but he wanted to assert that he is capable of making decisions. "In substance we are complying," he argued.

As a token of those results that should star in Atlantic Summit — if Trump's stakes did not eclipse m — NATO chose Wednesday to publish, almost before discussions began, statement that was to serve as brooch of two-day meeting . The text, of 23 pages and 79 points, recalls duty of mutual assistance among Allies and devotes ample space to relationship with Russia, which it accuses of having "changed security environment".

The most tangible commitment of Summit was training mission that NATO will establish in Iraq in coming months. The alliance will send "several hundred military" to that country to instruct Iraqi security forces. This new project will work in coordination with one that already develops coalition against Islamic State. Canada has offered to lead this new operation, which does not include combat work.

With transatlantic struggle at heart of debate, French President Emmanuel Macron also warned of risks of weakening NATO, an ever-closer hyposis. Macron asked its partners "not to weaken" organization. On way to leaders ' dinner, Trump showed that arguments outlined in first session made him little dent. "America pays for protection of Europe and loses billions in trade. It is necessary to pay 2% of GDP [in defense] immediately, not in 2025, tweeted.

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