Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Trump scolds fellow NATO leaders: Spend more for military

Christy Curtis | 27 May, 2017, 01:15

On Thursday, President Donald Trump went to NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he had a series of awkward encounters and gave a speech that seemed to have the United States' NATO allies either snickering or worrying.

As he tried to reach the front of the group, Montenegro's Prime Minister Dusko Markovic was standing in his way.

He also congratulated Macron for his "incredible campaign" and "tremendous victory" as the two world leaders met for the first time over lunch at the US embassy in Brussels on Thursday, Politico reported.

US President Donald Trump has criticised the majority of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies who, unlike Poland, have failed to meet their military spending obligations. "Congratulations. Great job", Trump said, according to the report.

"I am very happy to be able to change many things together", Macron told Trump during the meeting, hoping to persuade the U.S. President to maintain Washington's commitment to the Paris climate change agreement.

The meeting, he said, had adopted an action plan to enhance NATO's contributions and had also chose to expand to support to the US-led "Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Deash)".

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, when asked about Trump moving past Markovic, said he had not seen the video but assumed the United States president was moving to his designated spot.

It was also notable that Trump refused to publicly reiterate U.S. commitment to NATO's mutual defence provision, Article 5, which had been invoked just once before: after the terror attack of Sept 11, 2001.

Trump neither apologized nor paid attention to the European leader after he barged past him.

The EU's trade focus has turned to the Asia-Pacific region, including some of the 11 nations that were set to join forces with the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, until Trump's rejection of that deal on his first day in office.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel took a subtle jab at the now famous remark, saying "our common values are not obsolete" during a ceremony where he "handed over" the territory of NATO's new building from Belgium to the alliance before the meeting started. Notably, he also did not offer an explicit public endorsement of NATO's "all for one, one for all" collective defense principle, though White House officials said his mere presence at the meeting signaled his commitment.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and British Prime Minister Theresa May are attending the elite club for the first time. "If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today". Tusk, who previously has expressed concern about the new USA administration, said he and Trump agreed on counterterrorism, but did not see eye to eye on a number of other issues, including climate change, trade and Russian Federation.

"23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying", Trump said, adding that they owe "massive amounts".

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