Lawmakers Push Back Against Trump's Comments At NATO Summit

Francois Mori  AP

The US president made the statement when asked if he had threatened to pull out of the alliance, and whether he thought he could do so without first consulting Congress.

"NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago", Mr Trump told reporters, describing an unscheduled crisis meeting of the 29 alliance leaders this as "fantastic" and having "a great collegial spirit".

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told NPR on Wednesday that Trump makes a fair point that Germany should spend more but is not the first USA president to urge that.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg then reportedly shifted the meeting to an allies-only emergency session, requiring European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to leave the room.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he thinks the president is "right about Germany buying gas from the Russians, that's counterproductive".

However, a formal summit declaration issued by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the 2 percent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 percent. The US president has been particularly critical of Germany, accusing Berlin of relying on the US for security while not paying enough into NATO's coffers. On Thursday, Trump said he wasn't troubled by the planned protests. One official said the morning meeting Thursday was taking place against the backdrop of Trump threatening allies to "go it alone" unless if they agree to increase their defense budgets immediately.

TRUMP: "Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

"We call upon [North Korea] to fully implement its worldwide obligations; to eliminate its nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities and ballistic missiles, and abandon all related programmes", the statement said. "I just want fairness for the United States".

Chinese Nobel widow Liu arrives in Germany
Her situation drove the artist and poet into depression and resulted in criticism of China's human rights record. Berlin has been pushing China to let Liu leave the country following the death of her husband.

Members agreed in 2014 to increase their spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic product in 10 years, but it was unclear what they agreed to in Brussels.

Trump had spent his time in Brussels berating members of the military alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were attacked. All I can say is: "Did you?"

Earlier in the day, Trump was on the attack, going after America's allies even as he refused the day before to call Putin an adversary of the United States.

Although Trump administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

On both matters, Republican senators said they agreed with Trump's message.

Leaders will be keen to hear more about Trump's military approach to Afghanistan, which he revamped last August to include a surge in air strikes to force Taliban militants to the negotiating table.

Duda also told reporters Thursday that the leaders' meetings were confidential and that he was surprised at other leaders who leaked details to the media. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation.

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