Trump begins North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit with Nord Stream 2 attack

The leaders of the other 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance are hoping for a show of unity despite stark transatlantic tensions on a host of issues, most notably Trump's repeated invective against Europe over defence spending.

"It's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year from Russia", Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a working breakfast to open the summit.

"They pay billions of dollars to Russian Federation and we have to defend them against Russian Federation".

His comments were linked to the president's push for other European countries to pay more for its defence needs, in particular Germany. But Trump countered by saying the arrangement puts the United States at a disadvantage, pointing to the measly share of gross domestic product (GDP) that most members spend on defense.

Mr Stoltenberg later said that Mr Trump had a "direct language and message on defence spending" but insisted that "we fundamentally all agree" that the burden of defence spending should be shared.

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.

He is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit later in the day and will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

But instead of trying to engage with what Trump actually said during the Fox News interview, Gardner pretended Trump actually meant the opposite of what he said.

Trump said Germany had become Russia's "captive" after it got rid of its coal plants and nuclear energy.

Trump set the stage for clashes at the summit by writing to around a dozen allies to berate them for lagging on a 2014 pledge to try to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024.

Both countries will be well-served in the meantime by the British parliament's recent decision to ratify the deal, known as CETA, said Joseph Pickerill, a spokesman for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Mr Trump said he had not spoken with Mrs May, adding: "Boris Johnson is a friend of mine".

The NATO alliance has been critical to the USA since its formation in 1949 when it was created in response to the Soviet Union.

Donald Trump hasn't even arrived in Europe, but he's already making life hard for Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Disparaging long-standing allies at the same time as talking up the country that has wantonly seized territory and redrawn Europe's borders by military force for the first time since World War Two is disconcerting to say the least", said Boudreau.

"So, we're going to have a meeting on that and the secretary general has worked very hard on that, he understands the problem and hopefully we can get it resolved. And, we're going to make it fair, so that will be it". "So, I think that's inappropriate also".

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Tusk said "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many".

The prime minister said: "NATO is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast". He said the United Kingdom was in "somewhat turmoil" and thinks meeting Vladimir Putin - her geopolitical enemy - will be the easiest part of his trip.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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