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'A great meeting': Trump wants North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to double defence spending

13 July 2018

"There was a commitment to reverse that declining investment and start moving toward two per cent and that's exactly what we agreed with as a government when we came in".

During the trip, Trump questioned the necessity of the alliance that formed a bulwark against Soviet aggression, tweeting after a day of contentious meetings: "What good is North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if Germany is paying Russian Federation billions of dollars for gas and energy?"

The US leader has specifically singled out Germany for criticism over its defence spending.

Another interlocutor noted that due to the shift in Donald Trump's schedule, the talks were held with no press invited.

"I'm sorry, they're for White House staff", they were told as they tried to grab vacant seats at the front.

"I would actually say that she probably went the opposite way".

At the press conference on Thursday, a Croatian reporter dared ask if Trump would change his mind once he leaves Brussels for London.

To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense. He said the allies had confirmed their intention to meet the goal of 2 per cent by 2024 and no more.

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Thailand's junta chief told reporters on Tuesday that the group had been given a "minor tranquiliser" to help calm their nerves. That ultimately proved not to be an option when oxygen levels within the tunnels dropped to risky levels.

On Wednesday, Mattis was a silent witness at a series of meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where Trump berated and argued with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others.

Not only did Trump demand on Twitter on Thursday that countries meet the 2% level by this year, not 2024, but he also said all countries should eventually hit 4%, which is more than even the USA now spends.

President Trump "didn't set a timetable, but he was very clear that other countries needed to step up and fulfill their obligations", Sanders told ABC News.

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

Trump has raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers at global summits in recent months, during which some perceive him to have defended Russian Federation at the expense of European allies. Only eight countries expect to meet the target in 2018, he said. It will be Trump's first working visit to the United Kingdom since he became President, and massive protests in London are expected.

"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

The latest tariffs Trump has proposed, on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods, would raise the price of 40 percent of China's exports to the USA and begin to shrink the $375 billion trade surplus Beijing ran in 2017.

The outdoor arrival ceremony at Blenheim - Trump wore a tuxedo and first lady Melania Trump a butter-yellow, chiffon off-the-shoulder gown - was a grand affair marked by a military band in bearskin hats, hundreds of business leaders in black tie and gorgeous setting sunlight.

'A great meeting': Trump wants North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to double defence spending