‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

‘Strange and counterproductive’: Kerry slams Trump’s remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit

Seated alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NATO Permanent Representative Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Chief of Staff John Kelly, who looked uncomfortable as his boss spoke, Trump lit into Germany over the 800-mile pipeline it hopes to construct beneath the Baltic Sea, called Nord Stream 2.

His demand that they raise their contributions to 4 percent came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week's Brussels summit. "He's kind of accepting it at this point", Stewart said, adding, however, that it was hard to give an accurate reading of the former U.S. Marine general's attitude without having a thoroughly researched, baseline understanding of what his behavior is like.

The US president was similarly effusive when he met German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Many countries owe us", he argued.

"I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union", she said.

"The point she's making is that you can see the list of activities she points to, the way Russian Federation are behaving, and she's saying firstly that it's important that there's a price to pay for this, and we work together as allies to make sure that's enforced".

Trump's pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has proclaimed himself eager to improve relations with Russia's Vladimir Putin and dismissed the USA intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to help Trump win. He credited Trump, saying North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries are investing more on defense because of his leadership.

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"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defence spending ambitions. But other presidents never did anything about it because I don't think they understood it or they just didn't want to get involved". Is Trump nickel-and-diming our allies because, in his view, the U.S.is getting ripped off?

"Canadian prime ministers have always been careful to keep a distance from their American counterparts. but the bottom line is you do have to look at dollars because dollars do talk".

"I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany", Merkel added.

While Canada spends less than some, it has the best equipment interoperability in the alliance - meaning it's a reliable partner for the USA on missions overseas, he said. "So, I think that's inappropriate also".

He said Trump must make it clear to Putin that Russian Federation must cease meddling in USA and European elections, do something about the annexation of Crimea, work with the U.S.to remove Syrian dictator Bashar Assad from power and put the squeeze on Iran.

By the end of the day in Brussels when Merkel and Trump sat down together, neither seemed interested in continuing the spat - at least not in their public statements in front of the cameras. But "despite differences", he said, alliance members agree "to protect and defend each other".

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