Trump claims Nato victory | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:36 AM, July 13, 2018

Trump claims Nato victory

Leaves Brussels for 'hotspot' London after forcing allies to boost defence spending

  • Nato members agree to spend 2 percent  GDP on defence spending

  • US president, after questioning May's Brexit plan, arrives in Britain

 

Donald Trump claimed a personal victory at a Nato summit yesterday after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington's support, an ultimatum that forced leaders to huddle in a crisis session with the US president.

Trump emerged declaring continued commitment to a Western alliance built on US military might that has stood up to Moscow since World War Two.

People present said he had earlier warned he would "go it alone" if allies, notably Germany, did not make vast increases in their defence budgets for next year.

"I let them know that I was extremely unhappy," he said, but added that the talks ended on the best of terms: "It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the summit "very intense", and other leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, played down the extent to which they had pledged to accelerate spending plans as fast as Trump wanted.

"He said they must raise spending by January 2019 or the United States would go it alone," one person said of the clash at Nato headquarters when Trump spoke in a debate that was meant to move to other matters after rows over spending on Wednesday.

Macron and others said they did not interpret Trump's words as a direct threat to quit the alliance Washington founded in 1949 to contain Soviet expansion.

Nato members have committed to spending at least two percent of their national income on defence by 2024, though the terms allow for stretching that in some cases to 2030. The United States, by far the biggest economy, spent 3.6 percent last year, while Germany, the second biggest, paid out just 1.2 percent and only a handful of countries met the 2 percent target.

From Brussels, Trump yesterday landed in London beginning a protest-laden trip to by questioning whether Prime Minister Theresa May will deliver on UK voters' intentions when they decided to quit the European Union.

Ignoring all diplomatic niceties, the convention-shredding US president set up the four-day visit with a rebuke of his beleaguered host as she battles to stop her government falling apart over Brexit.

Shrugging off the plans for mass protests, he said in Brussels: "They like me a lot in the UK. I think they agree with me on immigration. I think that's why Brexit happened," he told a news conference before flying to Stansted Airport north of London.

He said Britain was "a pretty hot spot right now with a lot of resignations".

Some 77 percent of Britons have an unfavourable view of Trump, according to a poll by YouGov with 1,648 respondents.

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