North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: Trump urges members urged to double defence spending

Trump brands Germany a “captive of Russia,” days before he meets Putin

In a tweet today after a day of meetings, in which he lashed out at allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately boost spending.

He also accused member states of failing to pay their fair share of defense spending and of being in debt to the U.S.

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were ever attacked. "Germany should be committing 2 percent to defense like they agreed to at the Wales conference".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders are hoping for a more conciliatory tone on Thursday before Mr Trump leaves for the UK.

"We are talking about trade, we have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany", Trump said with Merkel sitting at his side.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday "may be the easiest" part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

Back in the U.S., Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump's "brazen insults and denigration of one of America's most steadfast allies, Germany", as "an embarrassment". The United States pays about 67 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, more than any other nation, although only 3.5 percent is NATO-related.

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As US President Donald Trump uses his time in Brussels to lambast European leaders for their various failings, as he sees them, a photograph now making the rounds on Twitter has captured the mood perfectly. Europeans must spend more on defense.

"Germany is a rich country". US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond. "This has been brought up by other presidents". "I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", he told the president, trying to calm tensions.

"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News. "We look forward to the meeting you're going to have with President Putin".

The most that current Chancellor Angela Merkel will admit is that the project is as much "political" as economic.

"I think we can cope with it", von der Leyen said.

"We spend on defense much more than Russian Federation and as much as China. 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".

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending. "On that point the American friends have a point", von der Leyen said.

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