Trump claims victory after forcing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation crisis talks

Canadian special forces look over a Peshmerga observation post in northern Iraq on Feb. 20 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Ryan Remiorz

Officials had been awaiting the first meeting as an indicator of Mr Trump's mood and they soon had their answer.

Trump did not say 70 to 90 percent of what.

"There is a communiqué that was published yesterday. He generally dislikes the Alliance and Allied solidarity, the very principle of an alliance and mulitlareral frameworks", she said. Later, he took to Twitter to demand that member countries get to 2 percent "IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called an emergency session of all 29 allies to address Trump's demands, and the USA leader said his hectoring had paid off.

The president has been highly critical of the alliance, complaining the United States pays more than others. Allies will deliver on fairer burden-sharing, he said, pointing out that European Allies and Canada are expected to spend an extra $266 billion on defence between now and 2024.

There probably wasn't a single, unified metric that would make sense for each country, he said. I dont know if that's what they voted for.

Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, "We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren't so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment, and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit", he told a news conference.

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Trump's comments came in a wide-ranging news conference after attending a special meeting on defense spending.

But coming a few days before he is to meet President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Trump's critical stance toward the allies intensified attention on longstanding concerns by the United States about the willingness of Europe to shoulder its share of the financial burden for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Ahead of his Monday meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump called the Russian president a "competitor" when asked if he considered Putin a friend or a foe.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona wants Trump to tell Putin his invasion and occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine is "illegal" and his activities in Syria are "detrimental".

'Giuseppe, who I got to know quite well over the last month and a half, he won his election because of strong immigration policies on Italy, ' Trump said.

"I believe only one thing: the communique we have approved, the strategy we defend and the seriousness we have, because it is the security of our people we are talking about".

It was the most recent in a series of demands and insults that critics fear will undermine the decades-old alliance, coming days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip. "There is a great collegial atmosphere in that room, that I don't think they've had for many years".

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