Chaos erupts after Trump slams Germany for being Russia's 'captive'

11 July, 2018, 15:29 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Trump heads to Europe amid frayed alliances and worries about his tilt to Putin

Trump set a confrontational tone at the start of NATO's two-day summit in Brussels on July 11, saying Germany was making natural-gas pipeline deals worth "billions of dollars" with Russian Federation while expecting the United States to "protect them against Russian Federation".

Trump is expected to slam the alliance as he calls for European nations to spend more on defence.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the USA protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russian Federation.

"If we look at the gas pipeline, Germany is an independent country where energy supply is concerned, we diversify, but the main overarching topic is the summit - we want a summit that sends out the message of unity".

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday Kavanaugh offers lengthy judicial record ahead of bitter confirmation fight Hundreds protest Kavanaugh's nomination outside Supreme Court MORE's concerns also reportedly stem from the 17-year-long war's massive cost, which has topped more than $1 trillion.

His comments were linked to the president's push for other European countries to pay more for its defence needs, in particular Germany.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he hoped Trump avoided a repeat of his G7 summit in Quebec City, when his demands on reducing trade surpluses with the United States prompted a bitter debate with allies.

"In terms of a government who's radically rethinking the nature of its committeemen to Europe, the British are the closest to the Trump administration on those issues", he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets Trump at the summit, has given political backing to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import more gas, despite criticism from other European Union governments.

Answering questions from reporters on the lawn of the White House as he and his wife Melania prepared to board the Marine One presidential helicopter, Mr Trump said that the United Kingdom "certainly has a lot of things going on".

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

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"I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", she said of her youth in Communist East Germany.

Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen dismissed Trump's comments, saying Germany is not captive to Russian Federation and the country can take Trump's criticisms in stride.

At the 2014 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, member states agreed to meet a two percent GDP defense spending pledge by 2024.

But in a bid to appease the U.S. president, they also vow to "submit credible national plans on its implementation".

"That's a fundamental inconsistency in the pro-NATO position", Mr. Desch said.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen dismissed the president's claim.

Afterwards he will spend the weekend in Scotland at his gold club, Trump Turnberry, in Ayrshire.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have all that many", he said. "We can't put up with it", he said.

Of his meetings in Brussels and Britain and with Putin, he said: "Frankly, [the meeting with] Putin may be the easiest of them all - who would think?"

The NATO summit is also being attended by leaders of so-called NATO partner states that are not members of the alliance.

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