Trump keeps promoting myth about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation debt

Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg

Mr. Stoltenberg said European Allies and Canada are expected to spend an extra $266 billion on defence between now and 2024.

"Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a fiery on-camera exchange that was almost without precedent in the history of the post-World War II alliance.

"And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia", Trump said.

Aside from putting the share of Russian energy at 70 percent of Germany's consumption when it is in fact about 20 percent, Trump appeared to suggest the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a public project while Merkel insists it is a private commercial venture.

Brussels is the first stop of a week-long European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"I think it is unfair", Trump said. "He's been very, very nice to me - very supportive", Trump said.

USA ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump's rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration - which the United States is expected to back - which will be the basis for the alliance's work over the coming years.

"Germans need to do more and can afford to do more", on defense spending, said Simakovsky, but "you can make it harder to meet that threshold when Trump is so unpopular".

In a stunning public dressing-down of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump fired off criticisms of the alliance, reiterating his complaint that it is not paying enough for defense and singling out a German oil-and-gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation.

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And while she noted the "emphasis on burden-sharing", Hutchison focused on the fact that "every one of our allies - 100% - are increasing defense spending" and noted that United States allies are "on track to make the 2% pledge" regarding defense spending as a proportion of GDP.

But in a bid to appease the USA president, they also vow to "submit credible national plans on its implementation".

"You know, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the alliance of 29 nations, there's some disagreements", Stoltenberg said. Even Stoltenberg - a mild-mannered former Norwegian prime minister who has cultivated a positive relationship with Trump - appeared reduced to spluttering as Trump cut him off after he started to explain that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War.

Britain's summer 2016 referendum saw the leave side prevail by a 52-48 margin - a populist victory combined with Trump's surprise victory in the US presidential race later in the year that sparked upheaval in the global order.

"So I think the secretary-general likes Trump. Will they reimburse the USA?" he said in one tweet.

In Europe this year, four countries will meet the 2 percent target - compared with three last year - and another two nations will reach it if the figures are rounded up to one decimal place.

But European Council President Donald Tusk was more direct in anticipating that Trump may have designs on sowing discord, delivering a stinging warning to the visiting Americans president.

Trump erased that timeline as he stepped up his calls for increased defense spending, saying allies should do so "immediately". "Who would think?" Trump told reporters in Washington before departing.

The prime minister said: "NATO is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast". Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all.

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