‘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

Despite the harsh criticism of the president, Kerry agreed that United States allies need to increase their defense spending.

German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the US gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.

Referring to her own past living in the now defunct East Germany, Ms Merkel added: "I personally experienced how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union".

"We're having a great meeting. My mother's family, for example, was divided by the building of the Wall", she said in remarks upon receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Trump has repeatedly denounced low levels of defense spending among remaining members, particularly Germany.

Stoltenberg estimated European allies and Canada will add $266 billion to their military spending by 2024 and said, "this is really adding some extra momentum", apparently meaning Trump's pressure.

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets.

The failure of many allies to release a plan to achieve the two percent goal has drawn the fury of the president, even as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders acknowledge they need to be more aggressive in modernizing their military capabilities.

Mr Trump earlier claimed that Germany was "captive to Russia".

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Trump was objecting to Germany's acceptance of a new pipeline project that will bring more natural gas from Russian Federation.

Mr Trump said countries needed to "step up, not over a 10-year period, they have to step up immediately" adding that other U.S. presidents had raised the issue but "did not do anything about it". East Europeans fear the deal could leave them vulnerable - but it also redirects pressure on Trump, who is under fire for his own Russian Federation issues and whose administration is facing off against special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe. We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans.

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to "appreciate your allies" and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

"We didn't know what to expect, it was a positive outcome", he said of the dinner in a Brussels park, where leaders were treated to an acrobatic display and saxophone music.

Trump's demand jolted the transatlantic alliance at the conclusion of this week's Brussels summit and, in the words of one diplomat briefed on the events, sent "everyone into a tailspin".

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May tried to ease the tensions on Wednesday by announcing additional troops for NATO's Afghan training mission, Reuters reported.

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