Trump claims victory on NATO spending row

Trump rails against Germany, demands allies double NATO spending

Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.

Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, criticising its reliance on Russian gas imports and failure to spend more on defence.

Trump: "Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy at what was happening and they have substantially upped their commitment".

"Tremendous progress has been made, everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment they're going to up it at levels they've never thought of before". "What will happen with Crimea from this point on, I can't tell you". He said they spent about 90 minutes talking at dinner and claimed they "probably never developed a better relationship than last night". They're happy to do it.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London", he told The Sun, which is owned by his media ally Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News in the United States.

Large anti-Trump protests are expected to follow Trump throughout the day. He is scheduled to meet May and then Queen Elizabeth II before leaving Friday.

"They're here as a prime minister or as a president, and they can't necessarily go in and say, 'This is what we're going to do.' But they're going back for approvals", Trump said, acknowledging the political realities. "I don't know that is what they voted for". "Very unified, very strong, no problem". He suggested an accelerated timeline, saying nations would be "spending at a much faster clip". That would mark a significant milestone for the alliance.

When pressed to explain Trump's claims he credited the president with a "new sense of urgency" among allies to "redouble our efforts" to increase defence spending, but did not report any new cash or time commitments.

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"The stakes for the upcoming Trump-Putin meeting could not be higher", Pelosi said. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

But ahead of his arrival for Day 2 of NATO's annual summit, Trump signaled he was not yet done with his attempts to pressure North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to increase their defense spending.

Trump delivered the line after what several sources said was an improvised rant focused on his grievances about transatlantic ties, but appeared to hesitate before issuing his ultimatum, which led to some confusion about what he really meant.

Other leaders, however, played down the extent to which they went beyond existing commitments to increase contributions to their own defence, as Trump demanded they share more of what he calls an unfair burden on USA taxpayers in funding an alliance focused on discouraging pressure from a resurgent Moscow.

"Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation", one tweet said.

At the same breakfast (and on several other occasions later in the day), Trump blasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an energy deal her country has with Russian Federation, saying they are "totally controlled by Russian Federation", and a "captive" of the country.

Trump later tweeted and also confirmed during a press conference in Brussels that 4% percent should indeed be the ultimate target. I don't. I'm very consistent.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday told CNN that the organisation's member countries have committed to defence spending at two percent of GDP, but would not confirm US President Donald Trump's claim that the target was actually four percent.

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